Recreation & Holidays: Winter Holiday Safety Tips
Selecting a Christmas Tree
- Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and should not break.
- The trunk should be sticky to the touch.
- Bounce the tree trunk on the ground, if many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and it 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.
- Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Disposing of your tree
- Do not burn tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
- Place candles in a sturdy fire-proof container that won't be tipped over.
- Extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Supervise children or pets around candles.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children.
- Do not put lit candles on a tree or wreath.
- 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.
- Connect only three light strands together, unless the directions indicate it is safe.
- Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
- Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.
- Unplug holiday lights when you are not home.
Smoke Alarms/Detectors & Home Escape Plans
- Working smoke alarms/detectors more than double your chances of surviving a fire.
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of you house, test them monthly, keep them clean and change the batteries when you change your clocks.
- When the smoke alarm sounds, get out fast and stay out!
- Plan your escape. Know two ways out of every room.
- Practice your escape plan with your whole family at least twice a year.
- If your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP, (Cover Your Face) and ROLL!
Wood Stoves & Fireplaces
- Have a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney.
- Place ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least three feet away from anything that burns.
- Burn, don't trash, dry well-seasoned wood.
- Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass to prevent sparks from escaping. If you have children, use a special child-guard screen as a barrier.
- Never burn wrapping paper.
- Give heaters space - at least 36 inches between the heater and everything else.
- Turn off portable heaters when family members leave the house or are sleeping.
- An adult should always be present when a space heater is used around children.
- Make sure your heater is UL approved and has a tip-over shut off function.