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Holiday Fire Safety Reminders

Holiday Fire Safety Reminders...because responders need to hear it, too.

I know we're all in the emergency service business and are used to being the ones delivering this message. It's just as important to remind each other of the importance fire safety during the holidays as it is to remind the public. The holiday season brings additional risks and requires vigilance to prevent tragedy related to fires. According the the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), there are about 250 residential structure fires involving Christmas trees and another 170 fires attributed to holiday lights and decorations each year. The results are numerous deaths and injuries.

Join Mitigation Journal and the NFPA/USFA in an attempt to decrease the holiday tragedies related to fires. Remember, as responders we are not immune to fires in our own homes. We have a duty to serve the public and ourselves by keeping a few important from the USFA/NFPA points in mind:

Care 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.
Maintain your 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. And do not leave holiday lights unattended!
Avoid using real candles:
If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Keep two ways out:
Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit way. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry/exit way puts you and your family at risk.

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