Health & Safety

December 14, 2012

Holiday fire safety

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Edwards AFB Fire Prevention Office


Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season.

Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire.

Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated 250 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 170 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires resulted in 21 deaths and 43 injuries.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

Tree selection safety, care, disposal:

  • Needles should be green and hard to pull from branch
  • Tree trunk should be sticky to the touch
  • Bounce your Tree to see if loose needles remain on the Tree
  • When you place your Tree in the home ensure it is NOT within three feet from any heating sources, fireplace, or heating vent.
  • DO NOT SMOKE near your Tree
  • Do not put your Tree up to early and try not to leave it up for longer than 2 Weeks
  • Keep your tree stand filled with water daily
  • Never put Tree branches or needles in the fireplace
  • When the Tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. Recycling Centers or having it hauled away are some options to consider

Holiday Lights:

  • Inspect holiday lights each year for Frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking
  • Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory
  • DO NOT overload electrical outlets
  • Unless directions allow, DO NOT link more than THREE light strands
  • Make periodic checks to wires- they should not be warm to the touch
  • Some lights are only for Indoor or Outdoor use
  • ALWAYS turn off LIGHTS when you leave your home and before going to bed

Holiday Decorations:

  • Use only Nonflammable Decorations of Flame Resistant decorations and ensure they are not located near any heat vents
  • If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant
  • DO NOT block exits. All Tree’s and Decorations will not block any exits within your home or work facility
  • Candle usage in Air Force facilities is prohibited. If the usage of a Candle is necessary and strictly involves a holiday function, it has to be cleared through the Edwards Fire Department Fire Prevention section for approval. A formal request will be required by the buildings facility manager outlining information pertinent to the holiday function that needs approval for Candle usage.

Remember, “tis the season to deck the halls”, but let’s make sure it’s done safely and soundly. With good common sense and basic safety rules, you can make this the best holiday season ever for you and your family. Happy Safe Holidays from your Edwards Air Force Base Fire Department!

In case of an emergency, dial 911 from a duty or housing phone, and dial (661) 277-4540 from a cell phone.

For any additional information, call the Fire Prevention office at (661) 277-3643.




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