Senator Flanagan Offers Tips To Keep The Holiday Season Safe
Senator John J. Flanagan, Jr. (2nd Senate District) is reminding residents to practice fire safety in the home during the upcoming holidays.
While the holiday season is a time for family and for fun, holiday fires injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA).
"During the busy holiday season, we all need to take some time to check our houses to ensure our families safety. The tips from the USFA are useful in showing everyone the common dangers seen at this time of year and offers some very simple solutions. This is a time for enjoying our family and friends and, by taking a little extra care, that time can be safe and worry-free," said Senator Flanagan.
The USFA offers the following fire safety tips:
-Maintain Your Holiday Lights: Inspect holiday lights each year 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 more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet and make sure to periodically check the wires to make sure they are cool to the touch.
-Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended: When you are not home, please remember to turn lights off.
-Use Only Nonflammable Decorations: All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
-Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace: It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
-Artificial Christmas Trees: If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
-Avoid Using Lit Candles: If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down and never leave the house with candles burning.
-Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree: Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame.
PREVENTING CHRISTMAS TREE FIRE
-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 not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch.
-Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
-Caring for Your Tree: Do not place your tree 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.
-Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
-Disposing of Your Tree: Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Everyone in your household must know how and when to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.
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