A Season for Sharing in Fire Safety

  • Published
  • By Fire Prevention Office
  • 23 Civil Engineer Squadron
Every year, fires that occur during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 Americans, injure 1,650 and cause over $990 million in damage.

The Moody Fire Prevention Office would like to offer a few simple fire safety tips that can keep lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy and ensure everyone has a safe enjoyable holiday season.

When selecting a safe Christmas tree there are different aspects of the tree to look at.

Things like ensuring the needles on the tree are green which means they are fresh. The needles should also be hard to pull back from the branches and should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.

When checking the trunk of the tree the end should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree truck on the ground. If many needles fall off it means the tree has been cut too long ago and has probably dried out which means this can be a fire hazard.

When caring for the tree, take steps to ensure it is safe and secure.

Never place a tree close to a heat source, such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or a spark.

Don't put a live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks and keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Never put lit candles on a tree or go near it with an open flame like a candle, lighter or match.

The steps located below are the proper ways to disposing of your tree.

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, remove it from the house.

The best way to dispose of a tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

When dealing with holiday lights, decorations and candles remember to always follow the manufacturer safety recommendations provided with the lights and decorations. Failure to do so could lead to a hazardous situation.

Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Ensure the lights are UL, ETL, or CSA tested for safety.

Do not overload electrical outlets and 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.

Never run extension cords under rugs, across areas where there is a lot of foot traffic, or near furniture.

Unplug all lights before leaving the house or going to sleep and ensure there is no chance of a fire, make sure all decorations are nonflammable or flame-retardant.

Avoid using lit candles and 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 and be sure all candles are away from decorations, kids, pets and trees.

Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace as this can result in a very large fire, and can throw off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.

As in every season, check to make sure all smoke alarms on every level of the residence are in working order. Test smoke detectors monthly, keep them clean, and equipped with fresh batteries.

Never leave the kitchen when using the stovetop. If so, turn heat off first. Finally, if you smoke, it is recommended to smoke outside and always dispose of smoking materials properly.

Families should also practice home escape plans as well as know how to call for help.

The Moody fire emergency services flight wishes everyone a safe holiday season. For more information about fire safety, call the Moody fire prevention office at 229-257-4410.