NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire. Keep your holidays safe and follow these tips from the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Agency.
Safety tips people can follow this holiday season include:
Holiday decorating and lighting
• Use caution with holiday decorations, and whenever possible, choose those made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
• Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials, and do not use candles to decorate Christmas trees.
• Purchase only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance.
• Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings, and replace damaged items before plugging lights in. Do not overload wall outlets or extension cords.
• Always unplug lights before replacing light bulbs or fuses.
• Don’t mount lights in any way that can damage the cord’s wire insulation.
• Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
• Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
• Don’t use electric lights on metal trees
• Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used.
• Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.
• Try to keep all trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles.
• Choose a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.
• Keep a watchful eye on children around the tree, and do not let them play with the wiring or lights.
• Ensure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, and try to position it near an outlet so that cords are not traveling long distances.
• Do not place trees where it may block exits.
• Safely dispose of trees when it begins dropping needles, dried out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house, garage or placed against a house.
• Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. according to the NFPA. When cooking for holiday visitors, remember to keep an eye on things.
• Provide plenty of large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. Cigarette butts can smolder in the trash and cause a fire. Completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
• Keep matches and lighters up high out of sight and reach of children. When smokers visit your home, ask them to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
• Test your smoke alarms, if you can’t remember when you changed the battery last, change it. Let guests know what your fire escape plan is.
• It’s your party, keep an eye on your guest. Don’t let them drink and drive.
Carefully decorating Christmas trees will help make your holidays safer. Every year the NFPA compiles the records for all fire incidents. The statistics are used to address nationwide fire trends. In order not to become a statistic during the holiday season, follow these safety tips and all manufacturer instructions for a safe holiday.