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Holiday Safety Tips 

Happy Holidays from the Chandler Fire Department! At this time of year we experience holiday sights, scents and sounds, the warm ambiance of candlelight and the awesome display of lights all around us.

Holiday Candles

This is the season to enjoy good times and be with family and friends. While enjoying the season most of us are not affected by holiday accidents or tragedies; and to help you keep it that way, consider the following statistics and information:

Each holiday season fires injure 2,600 individuals and cause more than $930 million in damage. (United States Fire Administration). Each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for falls, cuts, shocks, and burns due to incidents involving faulty holiday lights, dried-out Christmas trees and other holiday decorations (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Christmas Trees:
The National Christmas Tree Association estimates 36 million trees are sold each year. Christmas trees are involved in about 400 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 80 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage. To reduce the chance of becoming a statistic, we suggest:

  • Choose a fresh tree, cut 1to 2 inches off of the trunk and put it in a stand designed to support the tree, the trunk of the tree should be “mushed” to allow it to soak up water
  • Place the tree away from heat sources, exits and flammable materials
  • Water the tree daily, it will lose a ½ gallon of water a day (6’ tree)
  • Check lights for damaged sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. No more than 3 strands connected together.
  • Shut off the lights before you leave or go to sleep
  • Tree should not lose needles if you tap on the trunk
  • Dispose of tree properly (not in the fire barrel on New Years Eve) consider recycling your tree

Extension Cords:

  • Should be Underwriters Laboratories listed with the correct amperage stamped in the cord
  • Do not plug an extension cord into an extension cord
  • For multiple cords, use a fused power strip
  • Do not fold, staple or mutilate the cord (shut in door, walked on/driven over, under carpet)
  • Do not modify the ground feature of any electrical cord

Candles:
Historically, December experiences double the number of home candle fires. Candle use has increased 100% in the last 5 years. Over the last decade, candle fires have tripled. In 2001 alone, an estimated 18,000 home fires started by candles were reported to fire departments, an all time high. These fires resulted in 190 deaths, 1,450 injuries and an estimated property loss of $265 million (National Fire Protection Association). We suggest:

  • Candles should be in/on a sturdy nonflammable container/base that is large enough to collect dripping wax
  • Candles should be extinguished before you leave or go to sleep
  • Candles, kids and pets don’t mix. Keep them away from each other
  • Never put candles on a tree, in windows or near exits

Chimneys/Fireplace Safety: maintenance, wrapping paper:

  • Have your chimney checked each year
  • Use only seasoned hardwood, never burn wrapping paper
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector
  • Keep all combustibles at least 3 feet away
  • Never, ever use flammable liquids like gasoline, kerosene or lantern fuel to start a fire
  • Fireplace ashes should be disposed of in a metal container with a tight fitting lid not in paper sacks, cardboard boxes or plastic trashcans.

Smoke Detectors:
Seventy percent of all home fire fatalities occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms or alarms that work. Nearly one quarter of home smoke alarms are not working. According to the NFPA, 19 out of 20 homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, four out of 10 reported home fires occurred in the small percentage of homes that did not. For your safety:

  • Choose a smoke alarm that has the name of a recognized testing lab
  • Install smoke alarms on every level and outside the sleeping areas of the home (for added safety; in every room where people sleep)
  • Install a new battery every year, immediately if the alarm “chirps”
  • Test alarms once a month with the test button or approved smoke substitute, clean the unit according to manufactures instructions
  • Buy special smoke alarms for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Replace your smoke alarms when they are 10 years old
  • Develop an exit plan with the whole family
  • Check your smoke alarms.