The Holidays are an exciting time for everyone. Festive lights, ornamented trees, candles and other in-home decorations are not the only indicators that the holidays are upon us. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), December and January are the peak months for the overall number of home fires, deaths and injuries. Families looking to spread holiday cheer should also be aware that an average of 240 home fires starts with Christmas trees which have caused on average 13 deaths, 27 injuries and $16.7 million in direct property damage on an annual basis. Keeping this in mind, the North County Fire Authority wants to remind everyone in the community the importance of having a safe holiday season. The following safety tips will ensure a memorable holiday for everyone:
- Install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. Test detector batteries every month and change them at least once a year.
- Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree and cause it to more easily ignite by heat, flame or sparks.
- Never put holiday tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is to take it outside to have it collected by the community pick-up service.
- Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wire, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear.
- Use only lighting evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Do not overload outlets. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
- Do not leave holiday lights unattended.
- Avoid using lit candles. If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be knocked over easily.
- Never leave the house with candles burning.
You may obtain additional information on general fire safety at www.northcountyfire.org.