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 nationally. The Asheville Fire Department would like to share some simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following these tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.
*Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should bend and not snap. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. If it is not, cut the tree trunk before placing it in the stand in order to allow water to better penetrate.
*Caring for Your Tree
Do not place your tree too close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
*Maintain Your Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
*Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link too many strands together, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure the cords are never warm to the touch.
*Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat sources.
*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.
*Keep an Eye on Candles
*Try to only use candles within a confined glass instead of open flames.
Candles should be used on a sturdy surface and keep out of reach of children and animals. Be sure to always blow out candles before leaving the house or going to bed and make sure they do not touch decorations.
For more information on how to keep you and your family safe from fire this holiday season, please contact the Asheville Fire Department at (828)259-5636 or visit our website at www.ashevillenc.gov/fire
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