The Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department offers the following safety tips for the holiday season:
A holiday Christmas tree is a source of joy; but if you’re not careful, it can also lead to a fire.
- Buy a tree whose needles haven’t dried out.
- Place the tree away from any heat source such as a space heater or fireplace.
- Keep the tree away from exits.
- Discard the tree as soon as the holidays are over, and even sooner if it starts to dry out.
Christmas tree lights and other decorations set the theme for Christmas holidays. Here are some very important points to remember when using them.
- Use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the UL Label from Underwriters Laboratories.
- Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Discard any of this equipment that you deem unsafe.
- Check labels of lights to be used outdoors to see that they are suitable for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outside. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, walls, or other firm support to protect them from wind damage.
- Do not overload the circuit with wiring. Use no more than three sets of lights per single extension. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and do not use more than the recommended number of lights in one circuit.
- Always turn off lights on trees and other decorations when you leave your home or go to bed. A short circuit in any of this equipment could cause a fire.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. Damaged insulation in lighting on a metallic tree could cause the entire tree to be charged with electricity. To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a metal tree, never fastened to it.
- Keep children away from light sets and electrical decorations. All lights present the problem of shock and casualty hazard for curious kids.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
- Always use non-flammable holders.
- Keep away from other decorations, wrapping paper.
- Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
The trimming of your Christmas tree is a very important part of your holiday festivities. Keep the safety of your family in mind when selecting trimmings, and decorating your tree.
- When choosing the finishing touches for the tree, purchase tinsel or artificial icicles of a non-leaded material. Leaded materials may be hazardous if eaten by children or pets.
- If youngsters are a part of your family, take special care to:
- Avoid any decorations that tend to break easily, or have sharp edges.
- Keep tree trimmings that are small, or have removable parts, out of reach of your child. These pieces may be swallowed.
- Don’t purchase ornaments that resemble candy or foods. A small child may try to eat them.
The opening of Christmas presents is always a special time during the holidays. Take special precautions when disposing of the wrappings:
- Always dispose of wrappings immediately after opening.
- Place trash in a metal container. DON’T burn wrappings in the fireplace, they may ignite suddenly, and cause a flash fire.
An emergency could strike your home at any time. Here are a few simple rules to follow to help your family through a crisis.
- Keep fire department, police, ambulance, doctor, and other emergency service numbers posted on or near your telephone.
- Keep a UL listed multi-purpose fire extinguisher in your kitchen when preparing holiday meals–and know how to use it.