According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year fires that occur during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 Americans, injure 650 more and cause over $990 million in damage.
Covington Fire Department would like to give you a few life saving tips to ensure that you have a safe and happy holiday season.
Preventing Christmas Tree Fires
When selecting a live tree for your home, the needles should be green and hard to pull from the branches. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by needles that are dried out and falling off. This means the tree has probably dried out and is a fire hazard.
Caring for Your Tree
Do not place the tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree and cause it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Keep the tree stand filled with water and do not leave the tree up more than a few weeks.
Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center.
Maintain your holiday lights by inspecting them 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 link more than three light strands together to avoid overloading the electrical outlets.
Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace or wood burning stove; it can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that my result in a chimney fire.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help and remember to practice your home escape plan.
The Covington Fire Department would like to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.