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article is intended to provide individuals with general information
pertaining to holiday fire safety.
There is nothing
more cozy or relaxing than curling up in front of a roaring fire next
to a majestic Christmas tree all a-twinkle with lights and ornaments.
The lights illuminate every tiny branch and the room becomes a veritable
Christmas wonderland. It is easy to get caught up in the Christmas season
with its hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, and celebrating, but
holiday fire safety is definitely one thing to keep close in mind during
the most jovial time of the year.
Fires during the holiday season injure approximately
2600 people and cause over $930 million dollars
in damage annually. So, while you are busy wrapping,
carolling, and baking Christmas cookies, take
some time to ensure that you have taken the
proper steps towards Christmas fire safety.
Christmas Tree Fires
- Consider artificial Christmas trees to further reduce the risk of fire.
be sure that the tree you pick is freshly
cut. Needles on fresh trees should be green,
pliable, and firmly attached to the branches.
trunk of the tree should be sticky to the
touch. The tried-and-true tap test determines
the freshness of a tree: bounce the bottom
of the tree trunk on the ground, and if many
needles fall off, your tree is not recently-cut
and could pose a fire hazard.
place your Christmas tree close to any sort
of heat source, and always keep the tree stand
filled with water.
is important not to put your Christmas tree
up too early, or leave it up any longer than
Holiday fire safety rules apply to the weeks
following Christmas as well. When it is time
to dispose of the tree, take it to a recycling
center, or have it picked up by your local community
pick-up service. Never put the tree, its branches
or needles in your wood-burning stove or fireplace.
Lights and Decorations
The best way to avoid holiday fires is to make
sure that all your decorative lights are well-maintained
and never left on unattended. Inspect them carefully
each year making sure to check for gaps in the
insulation, cracked or broken sockets, frayed
wires, and excessive wear and tear.
not overload electrical outlets. It
is not advisable to link more than three strands
of lights together unless the accompanying instructions
indicate that it is safe to do so. Plug the
strands of lights into an extension cord before
plugging into the wall outlet. It is a good
idea to check them periodically; they should
not be warm to the touch. All ornaments and
decorations, including artificial Christmas
trees, should be flame-retardant and non-flammable.
They should also be kept away from all heating
Holiday wrapping paper, although similar to
newspaper, should never be burned in a fireplace.
Some types can produce sparks and, at times,
a chemical build-up that could potentially cause
Lastly, as romantic as candles may be, they
should never be placed on a Christmas tree.
If they are used in other parts of your home
as holiday decorations, be sure to place them
in proper candleholders in a low-traffic area.
Lit candles must never be left unattended.
alarms should be tested and
cleaned regularly. It is also recommended
that an emergency escape plan be established
and exercised, and that all members of the household
know who to contact in the event of a fire.
Following these simple holiday fire safety tips
will ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season
by John Manley
Having experienced 2 house fires,
John Manley now devotes some of his spare time
educating people about the importance of having
fire extinguishers, CO and fire alarms, and
proper escape plans though the website: Fire
Extinguisher: 101 - www.fire-extinguisher101.com.