A Season for Sharing in Fire Safety
Preventing Christmas Tree Fires
Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases. 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. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
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. Do not link more than three light strands, unless directions indicate it is safe. Make sure to periodically check the wires—they should not be warm to touch. Do not leave holiday lights on unattended.
Holiday Decorations: All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from 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.
If you 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.
Winter Fire Safety—Safety Tips for the Home
The high cost of home heating fuels and utilities have caused many Americans to search for alternate sources of home heating. The use of wood burning stoves is growing and space heaters are selling rapidly, or coming out of storage. Fireplaces are burning wood and manmade logs.
All these methods of heating may be acceptable. They are, however, a major contributing factor in residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.
Be sure your heater is in good working condition, Never use fuel burning appliances without proper ventilation, Use ONLY the recommended fuel, keep kerosene and other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, NEVER fill the heater while it is operating, refuel outside only.
Wood Stoves and Fire Places
Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly, wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Do not use flammable liquid to start fire, keep glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, do not use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplace, never burn charcoal indoors and keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. Before you go to sleep make sure your fireplace is out and if you use synthetic logs follow the directions on the package.
It is important that you have your furnace inspected annually to ensure that it is in good working condition. Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition. Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace for discolorization, Check the flue pipe and seams annually. Ensure the chimney is solid. Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.