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Holiday lights, jingle bells, holly berries, and tinsel on trees are just a few of the signs of the Christmas season. Decorating homes and businesses is one of the most common ways that we all enjoy the holidays. Unfortunately, these same decorations are a major cause of fires during the holidays.
 
Holiday SafetyBased on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage. According to the United States Consumer and Product Safety Commission there are approximately 14,000 candle related fires and about 14,000 people sent to the hospital for falls, cuts, shocks, and burns related with holiday decorations.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree safe through the holiday. Follow these tips to learn how to keep all fires this season in the fireplace and avoid catastrophe this season.

Prevention

1. Many manufacturers have acknowledged the risk of flammable decorations, and so they now provide decorations that are flame-resistant, non-combustible or made from flame retardant material. When possible, choose these decorations other than cheaper options.

2. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

3. Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials. Never leave candles unattended.

Lights

1. When purchasing indoor or outdoor lights or other electrical decorations, look for those that have a label that shows they have been tested by an independent research lab.

2. Always read the instructions that come with the decorations and use electrical decorations only as described. Never damage cords by nailing up lights.

3. Inspect new and used light strands and replace damaged items before plugging them in, and don’t overload extension cords.

4. When changing lights or replacing a bulb, always unplug the strand of lights first.

Trees

1. If you use a metallic or artificial Christmas tree, be sure to purchase one that is flame resistant.

2. Keep live trees well watered. A moist tree is much less likely to cause a problem than a dry and neglected tree.

3. Never put candles on a Christmas tree.

Fireplaces

1. Never remove fireplace embers or ash. If you must empty the fireplace, place cooled ashes in a metal container with a lid and cover them with water. Dispose of them in an open area free from any structures.

2. Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

As the holidays approach, it is important for everyone to take extra care to eliminate potential dangers that could lead to fires and injuries. Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat thousands of people for injuries, related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. Using these tips may help keep your family safe this holiday season.


By Matt Reynolds - Google+
Posted 10:56 AM  View Comments

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