Like that old favorite Christmas song by Andy Williams says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! The CVFD wants to help keep it wonderful by offering these safety tips about decorations and general fire safety.
When decorating: Never use lighted candles near trees, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item. When displaying a natural tree, cut about two inches off the trunk and place the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the tree well watered so it does not dry out quickly – dry branches can catch fire from the heat of light bulbs. Check the water level regularly! If you use an artificial tree, chose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Kids are curious and will want to play with the ornaments on the tree, so you might as well prepare. Move the ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks towards the top of the tree. That makes room at the bottom for the ones that are safer for young kids, especially as far as choking hazards.
Never overload an electrical outlet! Modern LED lights consume much less energy than traditional incandescent lights. Having too may incandescent lights plugged into an outlet can cause the circuit and/or cords to overheat. Always use UL approved extension cords with the proper electrical current capacity. Always follow manufacturers instructions.
When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder. Don’t stand on chairs or other furniture. Always keep three points of contact with a ladder– two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. When using a ladder, use one with slip-resistant feet and wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes.
Keep holiday candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and don’t forget to blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep. Make a habit of placing matches and lighters in a safe place, out of children’s reach. Avoid novelty lighters or lighters that look like toys.
When cooking: Did you know that, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking? Thanksgiving ranks at the top of the list for home fires involving cooking equipment with three times the average number, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Stay in the kitchen when cooking so you can keep a close eye on the food, especially when frying and sauteing with oil. When cooking a meal that takes a long time like roasting a turkey or baking a roast, check it frequently. And a timer is your friend. Use one to help remind you there’s something cooking. Be alert and focused when cooking. It’s easy to get distracted when there is a lot of activity around you.
When driving: The roads are very busy during the holidays. Watch out for distracted drivers and pedestrians, even in parking lots. Make sure every passenger has a seat belt, car seat or booster seat. (CVFD is an official Child Safety Seat checking station)
Everybody needs their own restraint. Make it a rule: everyone buckled, every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block to the store.
Expect the unexpected on the road!
Merry Christmas from the CVFD!