Avoiding holiday fires from trees, decorations, candles

According to fire experts, never use real candles on holiday trees and never leave burning candles unattended. COURTESY PIXABAY

Credit: custom

Credit: custom

According to fire experts, never use real candles on holiday trees and never leave burning candles unattended. COURTESY PIXABAY

Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services and local representatives from commercial fire protection services provider Telgian Engineering and Consulting are providing citizens with holiday fire safety tips.

“Every year, we hear of Christmas tree fires or holiday decorations that lead to home fires, property damage, and tragically, sometimes loss of life,” stated Tracey Bellamy, Chief Engineering Officer at Telgian in a statement. “As you begin celebrating the holidays, the best line of defense against a holiday fire is a strong offense. Being aware of the fire hazards and proper preparation will help you keep your family safe this holiday season.”

Among their collective tips:

· Don’t string more than 3 strings of lights together to avoid overloading circuits.

· Replace older lights for newer, safer options.

· Only use lights outdoors that are approved for outdoor use.

· Never leave candles unattended; keep all candles at least 1-foot away from anything that can burn; consider battery-operated candles. Remember pets, children (and inebriated adults) can knock candles over.

· Keep working fireplaces clear of mantle decorations and trees.

• Clean chimneys and vents every year.

• If frying a turkey, pay attention to fill lines and never try to fry a frozen turkey. Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance away from the house or any other combustible material. Never leave the fryer unattended.

• Wear safety glasses or goggles to prevent hot oil splatter in the eyes. Hot oil can cause serious burn injuries to the face or eyes.

• Keep oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains away from stovetops, ovens, or any other heat producing appliance in the kitchen.

• If using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

· Keep live trees watered; don’t place near fireplace; never put candles on the tree; turn off lights when not at home or when going to bed for the night.

• Dispose of trees soon after the holidays; never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove; consider recycling the tree.

According to a Gwinnett Fire & EMS social media post, “A dry Christmas tree can burn rapidly. More than one in every five Christmas tree fires are caused when heat sources are placed too close to them.”

General tips that are important year-round include having fire extinguishers readily available and know how to operate them, install and test smoke alarms, remove flammable kitchen clutter, have a family evacuation plan and practice the plan.

Additional safety tips: www.tinyurl.com/GwinnettSafety411 and www.telgian.com/category/featured/.

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