December 21, 2007
There's no place like home for the holidays. However, the number of fires, fire injuries, fire deaths, and property losses increase significantly during the holidays. The heightened excitement and extra distractions of visiting relatives, children staying home, shopping, decorating, cooking, and parties can place a heavy demand on everyone's time and attention causing many people to overlook basic safety measures. The additional hazards of winter, such as home heating and increased electrical usage also increase the risk of fire.
Here are a handful holiday safety reminders from the Division of Fire Safety and your local fire and rescue departments to ensure that your holiday celebrations are safe and enjoyable.
· Never leave a burning candle unattended. Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire. Keep candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children. Never leave lit candles unattended. Put candles in proper holders so that they cannot fall or be knocked over.
· Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Check for fresh, green needles. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles. When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant. Keep natural trees watered at all times. Do not put the tree near a fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent.
· Never leave decorative lighting on, unattended. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and make sure extension cords are rated for the intended use. Never run an electrical cord under a rug or staple through the protective covering of the cord. Outdoor seasonal lighting should be plugged in to a GFCI receptacle.
· Carefully inspect every electrical decoration before plugging it in. Cracked sockets, frayed, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new decorations.
· Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
· Choose Safe Toys, Even innocent-looking toys - such as marbles and balloons - can present dangers to children. Many toy-related injuries occur when parents overestimate a child's ability to handle a toy designed for an older age group. Review the manufactures instructions and warnings.
· Never leave cooking unattended, even for a moment; grease fires begin in seconds.
· Ensure that all your overnight guests are familiar with your escape plan and know your meeting place outside the home.
· Give a gift that will save a life. What better way to show you care than to give a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm or a fire extinguisher to someone you love.
During the holiday season many fires are caused by people attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Check that all cigarettes are properly extinguished and the stove is off before going to bed. Make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order and that everyone in your home knows how to escape if a fire occurs.
Have a Happy and Fire Safe Holiday Season.
Source: Division of Fire Safety
Last Updated at: December 21, 2007 15:00:45