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Christmas Fire Safety Tips
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While we all enjoy decorating and entertaining during the holiday season, it is important to take extra care to prevent tragedy.  The NFPA reports nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays, claiming more than 500 lives. To ensure a fire safe holiday season for everyone, we would like to offer the following Christmas fire safety tips.  

 

The  Christmas Tree

  • Select a freshly cut tree.  It will stay green longer and  be less of a fire hazard. A tree  with high moisture content is safer, so try to get a tree with a vibrant green color and noticeable fragrance.   Very few needles should  fall when the butt  of the tree is tapped on the ground.  The  stump should be sticky with resin and needles should bend, not break.
  • Place the tree in a stand that will hold a couple of liters of water and top it off daily,  always keeping it immersed in  water.
  • Use a stable tree stand  for better balance.
  • Do  not block doors and make sure not to set your tree up near a heat source such as a radiator, heating duct or fireplace.
  • Never use  lighted candles on the tree.
  • Remove the tree within 2-3 weeks. After that amount of time in a heated building, even the freshest tree  can start to dry out.

Decorations

  • Choose  decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive. If  there are young children or pets in your home, avoid very small  decorations.
  • Avoid  using angel hair (glass wool) together with spray-on snowflakes. This  combination is highly combustible.
  • Do  not use metallic ornaments on the tree. If they make contact with defective  wiring they could become a shock hazard.

Lights

  • Use UL Listed light strings/sets.
  • Inspect  light strings/set before use. Check for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or  exposed wires, and discard if faulty.
  • Use  the proper lights for the environment. Indoor light strings/sets should not be  used outdoors because they lack weatherproof connections. Some outdoor light  strings/sets burn too hot indoors.
  • Do  not use electric light strings/sets on metallic trees. A faulty system could  energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming into contact.  Illuminate metallic trees with colored floodlights placed at a safe distance  from the tree and out of reach.
  • Turn  off all tree and display lights before retiring for the night or before leaving  the house.

Candles

  • Put  candles in sturdy holders on a stable surface, well away from drafts, curtains,  children and pets.
  • Place  candles away from absolutely anything that could catch fire.
  • Never  leave burning candles unattended.
  • Burn  them only when a responsible adult is overseeing the flame.
  • Snuff  them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

The  Fireplace

  • Don’t  use Christmas trees for firewood.
  • Never  burn gift wrappings, boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace.  They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat.
  • Don’t  hang Christmas stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use.
  • Always  use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
  • Never  use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use  only seasoned and dried wood.
  • Never  leave the fire unattended or let it smolder.
  • Clean  the ashes regularly. Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside away  from flammable materials.

The  Kitchen Grease and fat fires are a  leading cause of home fires,  so be extra careful when doing this kind  of cooking.  Here’s what to do if grease in a pot or pan catches fire:

  • Smother  the flames by covering the pan with a lid.
  • Turn  off the heat immediately.
  • Use  baking soda (flour can be explosive) on shallow grease fires.
  • Never  turn on the overhead fan, as this could spread the fire.
  • Never  throw water on a grease fire.

Electrical  Outlets

  • There  is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season. This is  an unsafe practice and should be avoided even for short durations.
  • Inspect  all cords before using an  make sure they are UL-certified. Look for loose  connections or frayed or exposed wire. Discard any defective cords. Read the  labels and manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper use.
  • Insert  plugs fully into outlets. Poor contact may cause overheating or shock.
  • To  avoid possible overheating, do not coil or bunch an extension cord which is in  use and do not run it under carpets or rugs.

Last but not least … test and make sure your smoke  alarms work. You should have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of  your home.  For information on how you can better protect your home and family against fire with a professionally monitored home security system check out our top rated security providers.

Christmas Fire Safety Tips was last modified: May 22nd, 2015 by Mike HSA
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