NEWS | Dec. 6, 2011

Christmas fire safety 2011

By Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Shockley 628th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector

With the holidays fast approaching, ensure you and your family will have a safe and enjoyable season by taking the time to include fire safety in your preparations. There are more fires, fire-related injuries and deaths during this season than any other time of year.

On average, 240 Christmas trees will go up in flames every year, resulting in 13 deaths, 27 injuries and property damages in excess of 16.7 million. And, these numbers do not include other Christmas decorations. Most could have been prevented with these few safety tips:

Christmas Trees:

-Live Christmas trees on base in public assemblies (the club, bowling alley, library, etc...) child daycare and dormitories are prohibited.

-Live Christmas trees in business occupancies (offices) require the advance approval from the base fire chief and/or the Fire Prevention office.

-Only Underwriters Laboratory or FM Global approved artificial Christmas trees are allowed in dormitories, child care and public assembly areas.

-Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.

-Christmas trees cannot block or obstruct exits and hallways leading to exits.

-Choose a tree with fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched.

-Place the trunk of the tree in water until it's ready to bring inside.

-Before you place the tree in the stand, cut 1-2" from the base of the trunk.

Lighting

-Keep extension cords to a minimum to prevent overloading circuits.

-Physically inspect electrical wiring for cracks, frays, wires tied together, melted insulation or broken sockets.

-Use only UL or FM tested lights.

-Check that your indoor lights are designated for indoor use and outdoor lights are designated for outdoors.

-Check the manufacturer's instructions about the amount of lights that can be connected in a series.

-When you leave your home or go to bed, remember to turn your lights off.

Decorations

-All artificial seasonal and holiday decorations must be UL or FM approved. Check the manufacturer's tag.

-There can be no live decorations in public assemblies, child day care and dormitories.

-Business occupancy use of live decorations will need advance approval from the base fire chief and/or the Fire Prevention office.

-Never have lit candles on your tree or decorations.