The holiday season is a time of year where friends and family gather to celebrate everything good. Because we are committed to a safe holiday season, the Cushing Fire Department offers the following Holiday Season Fire Prevention Safety Tips. These safety tips can help you and your families avoid the devastation that a fire can cause during the holidays.
Live Tree Precautions
Selecting a tree for the holidays
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles 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 ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out and is a fire hazard.
Caring for your tree
Set your tree up in a safe area that is located away from all heat sources. Do not place the tree near a fireplace or heating vent because the heat will dry out the tree. If there are smokers in the house, do not allow them to smoke near the tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
If you opt for an artificial tree, make sure that the tree has a fire-retardant label. If the tree is metal or aluminum, do not use any lights or electrical product to decorate them. Metal is a good conductor of electricity.
Holiday Decorative Lighting
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Unplug all decorative lighting before you go to bed or leave the house.
Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory and marked for outdoor use. Turn off electricity to the supply outlet before working with outdoor wiring. Run all outdoor cords above ground, keeping them out of the puddles. To prevent moisture from entering the bulb socket, turn the bulbs to face the ground.
Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. 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. DO NOT LEAVE HOLIDAY LIGHTS UNATTENDED!
Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace, as it can throw off dangerous sparks and produce chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
Avoid using lit candles! If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot easily be knocked over. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Have working smoke detectors 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. Keep a UL listed multi-purpose fire extinguisher in your kitchen when preparing holiday meals – and know how to use it. Remember to practice your home escape plan so that all are familiar with it in the event of an emergency.
Fire Chief Brent Kerr said, “In providing our citizens with this fire safety information, we are hopeful that each will do their part to help ensure a “fire free” holiday season. A fire can be so devastating at anytime of the year, but especially during the holidays. Prevention is key to reducing your likelihood of being a fire victim.”
Anyone who has questions about fire safety is welcome to call the fire department at (918) 225-3361.