With the holiday season upon us, Fire Chief Timothy J. Grenno and the Whitman Fire Department would like to remind residents to use caution when decorating their homes this month.
"We wish the holidays to be a great time for all residents this year so please be careful as you decorate your home with lights, trees and candles, in order to avoid injury and fires this season," Chief Grenno said. "It is imperative that an emergency plan is in place if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home."
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2012-2016, fire departments responded to an average of 170 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of four deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in direct property damage annually.
In order to prevent Christmas tree fires and other fires that can be caused by holiday decorations, Whitman Fire recommends that residents follow these safety tips provided by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a tag or label specifying this protection.
Place trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.
Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.
Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.
Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could shorts and start a fire.
Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
Always use non-flammable holders.
Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
GENERAL HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS
Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of reach of children.
Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.
Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do. Practice the plan!
Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes — particularly long, open sleeves — near open flames - such as those of a fireplace, stove, or candlelight table.
Never burn candles near evergreens. Burning evergreens in the fireplace can also be hazardous. When dry, greens burn like tinder. Flames can flare out of control, and send sparks flying into a room, or up the chimney to ignite creosote deposits.
For more information on Christmas tree safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection
Association website or contact the Whitman Fire Department at 781-447-7626.