• By Wendi Hartup
  • Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Tips for Keeping Safe

Each year fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause over $990 million in damage. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.

Real Christmas Trees

  • Use a stand that will hold a gallon of water or more. Check water often and keep the stand full. A tree may take up a gallon of water in the first 24 hours and a fresh quart of plain water a day after that. Preservatives are not needed, just plenty of fresh water.
  • Place tree away from heat sources, heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, and sunny windows to prevent drying out too quickly.
  • Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.

Other Holiday Decorations

  • Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace: It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.
  • Artificial Christmas Trees: If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
  • Do not overload electric circuits. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe.
  • Turn off lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Avoid Using Lit Candles: If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.

Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

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