The Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department members and career personnel would like to wish you a happy and safe holiday season. Statistics show that the incidence of house fires increases during the winter holiday season – fueled in part by holiday decorations, candles and Christmas trees. According to the United States Fire Administration, house fires during the winter holiday season kill about 500 and injure about 2,000 people, and cause more than $500 million in damage. Here are some safety tips to help protect you and your family.
The year-end holiday season- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Year’s-is a prime time for residential fires. Decorative lights, candles, parties where people drink and smoke, and especially the onset of the heating season all increase the likelihood of fire.
Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach-up high and preferably in a lock cabinet. Teach young children to stay away from candles, fireplaces, and space heaters. Older children should be taught how to light candles or fireplace fires safely, and they should do so only under direct supervision.
When buying presents for children, avoid those that could be highly flammable. Make sure all electric toys bear a fire safety label from an independent testing laboratory. Keep electric toys away from Christmas trees and paper decorations.
Keep space heaters at least 3 feet (approximately 1 meter) away from furniture, bedding, clothing, walls and other things that can burn. Always use the proper fuel for liquid-fuel space heaters, vent them, and refill them only in ventilated areas when they are cool. Make sure the type of heater you are using is legal in your area and has a label from a safety laboratory.
Use only flame-retardant or noncombustible materials for costumes and decorations. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays and, keep an eye on anyone who is drinking and smoking. Empty an eye on any often- and wet their contents before dumping them. Check your cushions and furniture for smothering butts.
Be sure all decorative lights, indoor and outdoor, bear the label of an independent testing laboratory. Replace any lights set that have cracked or frayed cords or have loose connections. Do not overload outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, on or under heaters, or pinched behind furniture. Unplug all decorative lights before leaving home or going to bed. Never use electric lights on a metal Christmas tree.
Have your chimney inspected by a professional at least once a year and cleaned if necessary. Always use a fire screen. And burn trash or paper in a fireplace. Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace; burning paper can float up a chimney and on to your roof or into your yard. Remove ashes in a metal container, and never store them in your home.
Always put candles in non-tip candle holders before you light them, and do not burn candles near combustible decorations or displays. Keep candles well away from curtains and other combustible articles, and never put candles in windows or near exits. Never leave candles burning unattended or within reach of small children. Extinguish candles- wetting the wicks-before you leave a room or go to bed.
Choose a fresh Christmas tree. If you are not cutting your tree yourself, buy one that is not shedding its needles. Cut your Christmas tree trunk at an angle, and put it securely in a large, deep, non-tip stand. Set up your tree away from exits, fireplaces, and heat sources. Be sure your tree has water constantly. If you use an artificial tree, be sure that it is labeled as being flame-retardant.
For A Safe Enjoyable Holiday, Follow These Fire Safety Tips:
- Space heaters need space
- Be watchful of dangers to children
- Buy only safe toys
- Choose a fresh tree
- Check out lights
- Take care with candles