Hol­i­day Fire Safety

Catron Courier - - Front Page - By Sher Brown

It’s the hol­i­day sea­son again. It’s time for cozy nights, hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions, Christ­mas trees, turkey din­ners, par­ties, and un­for­tu­nately, res­i­den­tial fires. You can help make this a safe and happy hol­i­day for every­one by fol­low­ing a few sim­ple guide­lines.

If your fam­ily prefers a nat­u­ral tree, choose one that is fresh and green. Once you get it home, cut off the bot­tom two inches of the tree at a 45 de­gree an­gle and im­merse it in wa­ter. Once you put it in the tree stand, re­mem­ber to add wa­ter to the stand ev­ery day. When the tree dries out, dis­card it im­me­di­ately. The tree shouldn’t block any ex­its and should be at least three feet from any heat source. Twenty per­cent of tree fires are caused by trees be­ing too close to heat sources. On av­er­age, there are about 230 tree fires per year, caus­ing 4 deaths, 21 in­juries and $17.3 mil­lion in dam­age.

Use only non-flammable dec­o­ra­tions. When you buy tree lights, make sure they have a la­bel of an in­de­pen­dent test­ing lab­o­ra­tory, such as UL. Re­mem­ber that some lights are de­signed for out­door use. Read the boxes care­fully when pur­chas­ing and use lights ap­pro­pri­ately. If you are us­ing lights from the year be­fore, in­spect them for frayed wires, bare spots, ex­ces­sive kink­ing, or loose bulb con­nec­tions. A third of Christ­mas tree fires are caused by elec­tri­cal prob­lems. Most peo­ple use mul­ti­ple strings of lights on their tree. It’s rec­om­mended you string no more than three mini-string sets to­gether. If you have tree lights with screw-In bulbs, use a max­i­mum of 50 bulbs. If you use LED strands, fol­low the man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tion for max­i­mum num­ber of string sets. Did you know that tree lights are de­signed to be plugged into an ex­ten­sion cord rather than into a socket? All these years, I’ve been do­ing it wrong! I know my fam­ily used to leave the Christ­mas tree all lit up in the front win­dow all evening long, even if we were gone. We were lucky we never had a fire. Please turn off your tree lights if you leave, and when you go to bed.

Another com­mon hol­i­day tra­di­tion is can­dles. Can­dle- started house fires spike in De­cem­ber. Fire­fight­ers are called out on Christ­mas day, more than any other day. Half of those fires be­gin be­cause can­dles are too close to a flammable source. Another 20% of fires re­sulted from can­dles be­ing left unat­tended. Most res­i­den­tial fires caused by can­dles hap­pen be­tween mid­night and 6 AM. Many peo­ple put can­dles in their win­dow. The prob­lem comes when they close the cur­tains around the can­dle. If can­dles are a part of your tra­di­tion, con­sider us­ing bat­tery­op­er­ated can­dles. If you use real can­dles, keep matches and lighters away from chil­dren. They should not be al­lowed to light can­dles. And never leave can­dles unat­tended.

Many peo­ple are now deep fry­ing their hol­i­day tur­keys. The fry­ers can be very danger­ous. The turkey needs to be com­pletely thawed and thor­oughly dried be­fore you put it into the fryer. As you’re low­er­ing and rais­ing the turkey out of the large vat of hot oil, splashes and spills can eas­ily oc­cur. These fry­ers have caused dev­as­tat­ing in­juries over the last few years. They are also a fire haz­ard. Many of the elec­tric fry­ers over­heat caus­ing elec­tri­cal shorts and the propane fry­ers have caused sev­eral home and grass fires.

On be­half of the Ca­tron County Fire and EMS vol­un­teers, have a won­der­ful hol­i­day sea­son, en­joy your friends and fam­i­lies, and please be care­ful, so we can en­joy our hol­i­day too.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.