The winter holiday season should be a joyous time of the year. We enjoy eating, drinking and spending time with loved ones. During this season, fires and injuries associated with holiday decorating are much more prevalent.
Each year, US fire departments respond to an estimated average of 250 home fires that began with electrical Christmas tree decorations and lights.
These Christmas Tree fires cause an average of 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in property damage each year. Although these fires are not common, when they do occur, they are likely to be unusually serious.
On average, once every 18 reported home Christmas tree fires result in a death. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of home Christmas tree fires happen in December, with more than one – third of these fires being reported in the 10 days between Christmas and New Year’s Day. the top day was Christmas Day with 6 percent of the fires occurring on this day.
The KMC Fire Department wants to help everyone have a safe and happy holiday season. Here are some tips for everyone to consider:
- Natural-cut Christmas trees are not permitted in assembly, educational, health care, detention, correctional, mercantile, lodging or dormitory occupancies
- Select the freshest looking tree available. Make a fresh cut across the trees base and immediately place it in water. Dry trees are highly combustible and will be removed from the facility.
- Place natural-cut Christmas trees away from heating devices, space heaters, televisions, computer monitors and other heat sources. these devices will cause the tree to dry out prematurely or be ignited.
- Christmas tree or decorations must not be allowed to obstruct corridors, exit ways or other means of egress.
- In occupancies where natural trees are permitted, the bottom end of the trunk should be cut in an angle at least 1 or 2 inches above the end to help the tree absorb water.
- Place the tree in a suitable stand with the adequate water. The water level must be checked and maintained on a daily basis.
- Artificial Christmas trees must be labeled or otherwise identified or certified by the manufacturer as being “Flame-retardant” or “Flame-resistant”.
- Electrical lights must not be placed on metal artificial trees.
- Only listed electrical lights and wiring for the appropriate application must be used on Christmas trees and similar decorations. Use UL, GS, or CE approved electrical decorations and extension cords.
- If leaving for the holidays, its best to take down your tree and dispose of it before leaving.
- All decorations should be flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
- Never put lit candles on a tree.
- Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not link more than 3 light strands (unless the directions indicate it is safe). Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires-they should not be warm to the touch.
- Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace. It can throw of dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
- Finally, always test your smoke detectors at least monthly and replace batteries annually. Keep your family safe by planning and practicing your fire escape plan.
Please contact your fire prevention office for advice or if you have any questions about fire safety.From all of us here at the KMC Fire department, we hope you have a safe and joy filled holiday season.
For more information, call 480-5940.
(Courtesy of the KMC Fire Department)
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