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Holiday Fire Prevention



Purpose

Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage. There are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following the outline safety tips, you can greatly reduce your chance of becoming a holiday fire casualty.

Christmas Trees

Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the group. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up to early or leave it up of for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pickup service. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Holiday lights

Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gasps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicated it is safe to do so. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires − they should not be warm to the touch.

Holiday Decorations

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. Never place wrapping paper in a fireplace. It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

Candles

Avoid using lit candles. If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning. Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame.

This information was obtained from the United States Fire Administration Office of Fire Management Programs.
Holiday Fire Prevention (PS03)
©2006 Aspirant Education, Inc. Used under subscription license.


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