Holiday Safety

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Holiday homes are beautiful. The season is joyous. And, there is an ever-present threat of fire if safety practices are not observed.

Winter holidays and candles go together. The symbolize joy, warmth, security, and light. If you use candles or other open flame in your household decorations, remember these safety tips.

  • Keep flames well away from anything that will burn (i.e., upholstered furniture, curtains, lampshades, and flammable holiday decorations).
  • Never leave a flame unattended, eve for a moment, and keep children and pets away from all fires.
  • If a candle is used in arrangement with greens, be sure the candle is in a stable glass enclosure. Keep the greenery moist, and discard it as soon as it begins to dry.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are the most prevalent and most beautiful of all decorations. Whether you have a cut tree or a living (container) tree, keep it well watered.

  • No matter how charming the tradition, never use real candles on or near the tree.
  • Christmas lights should be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as shown by the UL tag on the cords.
  • Never use strings of lights that have frayed or broken cords.
  • Do not overload electric outlets or overuse extension cords. Demanding too much current from your circuits can make wiring overheated and start fires inside your walls.
  • Purchase only living trees with root balls or freshly cut trees. Some cut trees were harvested months earlier and are dangerously dry by the time you shop for your tree. Test freshness by closing your thumb and your forefinger around a branch and pulling toward the branch tip. The needles should feel soft and springy, and very few should drop to the ground.
  • When you get your tree home, cut about an inch off the bottom of the trunk and place the tree in water. The cutting step is important because a cut tree tries to "heal" its trunk by sealing it with its own sap, which prevents the tree from taking up water.
  • Use a stand that holds plenty of water so that the tree will not dry out. A tree can become a flaming torch in a matter of a few seconds with a fire a so hot that it can engulf an entire room in less than two minutes.

Do not block doorways or hallways with your tree. In a fire, seconds count and every possible exit should be available.

Fire Safety Gifts

A novel gift that says you really care is a fire safety gift. How about a smoke detector, fire escape ladder, portable fire extinguisher, and/or carbon monoxide detector for your family and friends? If you need more information about these gift ideas, call the Fire Prevention Office at 864-942-8495 or the Division of Fire and Life Safety at 1-800-896-1070. Don't let a fire end your wonderful holiday festivities.