Thursday, December 6, 2007

Holiday Fire Safety

As we close in on the holidays, please be sure to take steps to make your holidays “fire safe” this year. Statistics show the number of house fires increase during the winter holiday season – fueled in part by holiday decorations, candles and Christmas trees.

All told, house fires during the winter holiday season kill about 500 and injure about 2,000 people, and cause more than $500 million in damage.

Here are a few helpful hint so keep your house fire safe this year:

If you are celebrating using a Christmas tree, select a fresh tree that is kept in water at all times.
Needles on fresh trees should be green and should not fall off easily. Do not put your tree up
too early or leave it up longer than two weeks. Dried out Christmas trees can ignite easily and boost a fire by spreading it rapidly to nearby combustible materials!

Remember this video?

Place your tree in a safe place away from heat sources such as a fireplace or heat vent.

Maintain your holiday lights.
Inspect your lights before you use them to ensure they do not have frayed wires, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets or excessive wear. Do not do this while the lights are plugged in or else you run the risk of shocking yourself on any possible frayed or broken spots. Only use lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory and do not leave the lights on when you are not home.

Avoid overloading electrical outlets.
Do not link more than three light strands unless the directions indicate it is safe. Periodically check the wires. They should not be warm to the touch.

• Use only non-flammable decorations that are placed away from heat vents.
If you are using an artificial tree make, certain it is flame retardant. (FLAME retardant meaning it slows or inhibits the spread of fire. FIRE retardant pertains to something which delays or prevents combustion from occuring. These terms are NOT synonymous). Never put candles on a Christmas tree.

If you are celebrating the holidays with candles, ensure they are in a stable holder and place
them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Do not leave lighted candles unattended.
Never leave the house with candles burning. Also, never place fireplace askes in anything other than a metal container and only do so when the coals are completely cool. Never place the ashes in your basement, nor in your garage. If you do, you will probably burn your garage know who you are.

Please ensure your chimney is swept if not now, then certainly at the end of the season. If you are new to your house and do not know when it was last swept, call in the chimney sweep. Maybe if you are lucky you will have a Mary Poppins like sing-along as well as a clean chimney. Either way, a clean chimney is a safe chimney.

Personally, I say forget the tree, the decorations and spend all that money on a trip somewhere warm and splurge on something nice for yourself and block the holidays from your mind. Since I am afraid I am the only one thinking that, do as you will.

Remember, if you simply do as I tell you, there will be no problems.

For more information:



  1. Mike -- taking your advice -- flying to Miami -- going on Cruise -- cheerfully forgetting the holidays -- thanks!

  2. As we think about holiday safety remember not to post your holiday plans on the internet.

  3. I'll second Cathleen's comments..Anyplace warm would be better than the snow and ice we had last week.
    your volunteer PIO


We welcome insightful comments from the community that add value to the conversation. Spam, offensive, harassing, off-topic or inappropriate posts may be deleted.