Holiday fire safety tips for 2018

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With Christmas just one week away, holiday activities will begin to increase, especially over the week until New Years. The week before Christmas and the week after, including New Years, is when most holiday fires occur.

Here are some fire safety tips to keep your holiday happy instead of tragic:

Christmas Trees: Keep your Christmas tree fresh by watering it daily. Never let the water reservoir of the Christmas tree stand to run out of water; keep water in it at all times.

Place your tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, heaters, or TV sets, which will help dry out the tree.

Check the freshness daily by pulling on a branch daily with a lightly closed hand; see how many needles drop into your hand. If your hand is full of needles, the tree is unsafe to keep in the house.

Christmas Lights: Use only lights which have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) seal of approval on it. Follow directions on the package on how to use the lights.

Do not connect more than three strings of lights together.

Use an adequate UL-approved extension cord, if needed. Unplug lights when you go to sleep at night or leave home. For outside lights, shut off lights if it is raining outside.

Candles: Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that will burn. Put out the candle if you leave the room or go to sleep at night. Candles should never burn unattended.

Children should never be left alone in a room with candles burning. Consider using L.E.D. electronic candles instead of candles with a flame.

Fireplaces: If you have a fireplace, follow the directions for that fireplace regarding which fuels can be used. If it is a “natural gas only” fireplace, do not put anything that can burn, such as wood, store-bought logs or wrapping paper in the fireplace. If it is a solid fuel fireplace, only put one log in at a time.

Make sure the damper is open to allow smoke and gases to go up the chimney. Keep fireplace doors closed or use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from shooting out onto the floor.

Do not allow the fireplace to burn if you leave home or go to sleep at night. Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.

Holiday Cooking: Follow the same rules you would for everyday cooking.

Be on the alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.

Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.

Keep anything that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains away from your stovetop.

When cooking indoors using a natural gas or propane stove, make sure there is not a buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. The stove is a common source of carbon monoxide in the home, especially if you are cooking for several hours. Run any vent fans you have in the kitchen, especially the one over the stove.

You should open windows/doors in the kitchen at least once each hour to allow fresh air to circulate into the kitchen.

Do not cook in the garage. Do not take outdoor cooking devices into a building, especially homes and apartments.

Smoking: If you allow smoking in your home during the holiday, ensure there are adequate ashtrays in the area where you allow smoking.

Empty ashtrays frequently into the toilet and flush; do not discard into the trash. Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires in the home.

Do not smoke in the garage where various chemicals, paints and other combustible or flammable material are stored.

Matches & Lighters: Make sure all matches and lighters are locked in a place where children cannot get to them.

Holiday Celebrations: Many homes will have celebrations and parties during the holidays.

Do not use outside cooking devices in the home, garage or under the carport for cooking or heating.

Do not block exits out of the home; all should remain accessible in case of an emergency.

Have flashlights available in the event of a power failure. If you have a swimming pool or outdoor spa, remove all toys so children are not attracted to the outside water sources.

When the party is over, make sure all candles are out. Empty all ashtrays and check sofas and chairs for cigarette butts. Discard ashes from the fireplace into a metal container and fill with water; let the ashes soak for at least a day before discarding into the trash can.

Make sure all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly by checking them weekly during the holidays and just before any celebration or parties.

In the event of a fire, have everyone evacuate the home as quickly as possible, go outside to a safe place and then call 9-1-1.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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