Holiday decorating safety tips
WILLIAMSON — Now that the Christmas holiday season is upon us and people are more focused on things like shopping, preparing their Christmas dinner menu and spending time with family and friends, the Williamson Fire Department has released a list of safety tips to remind everyone that it is an important time for families to not lose sight of precautions that need to be in place to keep their homes safe and free from unnecessary risks from fire.
Always choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that may burn. Some lights are intended for indoor use only or vice-versa, not for both. Make sure to read the packaging carefully before use. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than 3 strands of mini-light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LEC strands that may be connected.
Always use clips, not nails, to hang lights so that the cords do not get damaged. Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your fire escape plan. Keep children and pets away from lit candles. Keep matches and lighters locked up at all times. While preparing food, may sure to not leave it unattended. Blow out candles when leaving the room or before retiring at night and also turn off or unplug all decorations.
Consider the following statistics concerning Christmas trees: Fire Departments respond to an average 210 Christmas tree fires each year; on average, 13 people die each year as a result of a fire that started with a Christmas tree; $16.5 million in property damage occurred in 2011 with 33 percent being the result of electrical problems and 13 percent involved lights.
If you have an artificial tree, be sure that it is labeled, certified or unidentified as being fire retardant. If you are one who enjoys a live tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Before placing the live tree in a stand, make a fresh cut of 1-2” from the base of the trunk. Make sure it is situated at least 3 feet from any heat source such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. Do not block an exit with a tree and be sure to add water on a daily basis. Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping its needles. Dried out trees are fire dangers and should not be left in the home or garage. Check with your local county commission or landfill to see about a recycling program.
The Williamson Fire Department wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season and stated that if anyone has a question regarding fire safety, they are welcome to call their station at 304-235-5273 and one of the firefighters will be happy to address their concerns.
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