Health & Safety

December 4, 2015
 

Simple tips for a safe holiday season

CiJi J. Brown
Edwards AFB Fire Prevention Office

holiday-safety
Decorating your homes and business offices is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season.
Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire and decorative items such as electric lights, candles, wreaths and paper/plastic materials can become more of a hazard than usually planned.
Christmas trees are a traditional part of the Christmas holiday. They can also be a major source of fuel in a fire.
Based on data from national estimates of reported home structure fires derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System, and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey, show that in 2009-2013, Christmas trees were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 210 reported home structure fires per year, resulting in an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage.
Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy.  Take action to ensure the safety of colleagues and family by using the tips listed below.

Christmas tree selection safety, care, disposal

* Tree trunk should be sticky to the touch; needles should be green and hard to pull from branch
* Bounce your tree to see if needles remain
* Locate your tree away 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 two weeks
* Keep your tree stand filled with water at all times
* Never put tree branches or needles in the fireplace
* When the tree becomes dry, discard promptly. Check local recycling centers for disposal assistance

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 (UL Listed)
* 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.
* DO NOT leave holiday lights unattended

Holiday decorations

* Use nonflammable/flame resistant decorations and ensure they are located away from heated sources
* If you are using an artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant
* DO NOT block aisles or exits. Tree’s and decorations shall be located where they not block the aisle way or exits within your work areas

Candle use in Air Force facilities is prohibited.
Candle warmers used for aromatic purposes shall be plugged into walls and will not be plugged into any surge protectors strips.
If the use 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 issued by the building’s facility manager outlining information pertinent to the holiday function that needs approval for candle usage.
Dorm occupants will be obligated to follow all tips listed above to include any and all additional guidelines outlined by dorm management officials.
With good common sense and basic safety rules, you can make this the best holiday season for your colleagues and your family. Should there be any safety concerns or emergencies that require reporting, use the contact numbers below.

In case of an emergency, dial 911 from a duty/housing phone, and dial 661-277-4540/4541 from a cell phone. For any additional information, call the Fire Prevention Office at 661-277-3643.

Happy Safe Holidays from your Edwards Air Force Base Fire Department!




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