Holiday Fire Safety
As we prepare for the holidays, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control urge all state residents to be safety conscious to ensure a fire safe holiday season. “The holidays are an especially significant time to ensure a fire safe home,” stated Alan Zygmunt, Public Fire Education Coordinator from the Connecticut Fire Academy, “cooking fires, heating system fires and fires from holiday decorations all increase during this time of year.” As we begin to decorate our homes for the holidays a few safety reminders are important to keep you and your family safe.
- Check all holiday lights for broken insulation or frayed wires. Electrical lighting is a cause of most Christmas tree fires.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets and don’t run extension cords under rugs, across doorways or near heaters. Only use UL listed extension cords.
- If you use candles, use a tip-proof candle holder and always blow out candles when you leave the room. Candles cause nearly 60% of all holiday decoration fires.
- Make sure your Christmas tree is fresh and water it every day. If a tree dries out it is a tremendous fire hazard. There is a very powerful video to watch on NFPA.org that shows the difference between a watered tree and a dry one. (https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Winter-holidays)
- Fireplaces should always be used with a screen to catch sparks and embers from coming into the room. Dispose ashes in a covered metal container and store it at least ten feet away from your home. Ashes can maintain enough heat to ignite combustible items for several days.
Of course you should check your smoke and carbon Monoxide detectors regularly to ensure they will work to keep your family safe. Also, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors can make a great gift for new parents or the elderly. Look for detectors with a 10 year sealed battery that never need to be changed.
The Connecticut Fire Academy is the teaching arm of the Connecticut Commission on Fire Prevention and Control. Part of their mission is educating the public in fire and burn prevention. Additional information is available by visiting the USFA web site at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.html