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'Tis the season for remembering some important fire safety tips


'Tis the season for remembering some important fire safety tips

As the holiday season approaches, the many things that we enjoy during this period, such as twinkling lights, candles, and decorations can also be fire hazards when proper care is not taken.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2005 and 2009, there was an estimated annual average of 250 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees. What caused some of these fires?

  Electrical problems (33%)
  Heat source too close to the tree (20%)
  Decorative lights (13%)
  Candles (11%)

When you get ready to deck the halls this year, keep in mind some of these safety tips to help reduce your risk of fire:

  Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  Add water to the tree stand daily.
  Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  Choose the appropriate lights for either indoor or outdoor use.
  Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  Connect no more than three strings of mini lights and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect as they may be different.
  Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
 ALWAYS turn off Christmas tree lights or any other indoor decorating light before leaving home or going to bed.

It is also important to dispose of your tree properly after Christmas.  Trees at this time are very dry and hazardous!  They should not be left in a home, garage, or set on fire in your backyard or fireplace.  Check with your local community to find a recycling program for your tree.

Not all holidays are accident free, so have important numbers handy such as your local fire department, hospital, and relatives to notify in case of an emergency.  And always keep your insurance policy in a safe place.

Let’s all have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Source:Home and Christmas Tree and Holiday Lights, NFPA Fire Analysis and Research, November 2011