Be safe this season
December 12, 2005
Rachel Hanson, public affairs coordinator with the Lake Dillon Fire Authority, wants to make sure folks coming into the county for the holidays are fire-aware.”A lot of people here now are in houses not used year-round,” she said. “They should be thinking of some simple things to help prevent fires.”Extra guests in a home, common for this time of year, means extra pillows, blankets, or maybe pulling out the futon. Hanson said people need to keep heat registers clear and make sure fire alarms are working.She said to keep the Christmas tree away from floor heaters and other heat sources and make sure outlets are not overloaded.Safe Kids Colorado warns parents to take extra care with young children and the decorations associated with winter festivities. “Holiday decorations, especially candles and electrical lighting, can be fire hazards. Lit candles, especially, are dangerous if placed near curtains or drapes, or if left unattended or are placed on a Christmas tree or a natural wreath,” said Barbara Bailey, an injury prevention specialist with Safe Kids Colorado.Lake Dillon and Snake River Fire-Rescue recommend the following list of holiday safety tips to help all have a safe and happy holiday season:Christmas Treesn Consider an artificial tree (they are much safer and cleaner).n A real tree should not lose green needles when you tap it on the ground.n Cut one inch off the trunk to help absorb water.n Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate.n The stand should hold at least one gallon of water.n A 6 foot tree will use one gallon of water every two days.n Mix a commercial preservative with the water.n Check the water level every day.n Secure the tree with wire to keep it from tipping.n Keep tree away from floor heaters, fireplaces, or other heat sources.n Use only UL-listed lights, and no more than 3 strands linked together.n Use miniature lights – which have cool-burning bulbs.n Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you leave your home for very long. n Never use candles, even on artificial trees.n Clean the tree stand to improve the tree’s water intake, use one capful of bleach to a cup of water.n Dispose of the tree properly. Never burn branches, wrapping paper or cardboard in fireplace.NEVER BURN A REAL TREE IN THE FIREPLACE.Home Safety- Make sure your smoke detector and carbon monoxide monitor have working batteries and is working by testing it.- Use only outdoor lights outside your home.- Examine light strings each year, discard worn ones.- Fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture build up.- Connect no more than three strands together.- Never use indoor extension cords outside.- Avoid overloading wall outlets and extension cords. – Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.- Unplug light string before replacing a bulb. Review the original package to verify proper wattage and voltage. – When connecting light strands, wrap a plastic bag around connections and tie ends with teflon tape.- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree, use colored spot lights. – Make sure trees hung with Christmas lights are not touching power lines.