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Make Fire Safety a Holiday Tradition

Post Date:12/06/2011

A Public Service Announcement
From the City of Bend Fire Department 

For More Information contact: TJ Johannsen, Deputy Fire Marshal, 322-6385
City of Bend Fire Department, 322-6309

Make Fire Safety a Holiday Tradition

Elaborate meals; candlelight; warm, glowing fires; trees and wreaths are among our best holiday traditions — and cooking, open flames and home heating are our most common causes of residential fires. Clearly, there’s a reason that so many destructive fires take place during the holiday season. This holiday, the Bend Fire Department invites you to make fire safety a holiday tradition.

Each year, hospital emergency rooms all over the country treat people for injuries, such as falls, cuts, burns, and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they occur, they are likely to be serious. From 2005 through 2009, Oregon fires related to Christmas trees and decorative lighting resulted in 7 injuries and an estimated $1.9 million in property loss. Candle-related fires during this period have caused even more damage. During the same time period there were 491 candle-related fires in Oregon causing 14 deaths, 62 injuries, and more than $13.3 million in property loss.

As the holidays approach, the Bend Fire Department is urging people to look for and eliminate potential dangers from holiday lights and decorations that could lead to fires and injuries.

  • Selecting a Tree
    Select a firm, fresh tree and store it immediately in a cool place. Pull on the branches to check for loose needles. If the needles are already falling off, the tree may be too dry to place indoors. When you bring your tree home, immediately cut a 1” diagonal piece off the trunk and place the tree in water. Keeping the container filled with water will help prolong your tree’s freshness.
    • Caring for Your Tree
      Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flames or sparks. Do not put your tree up too early or leave it up over two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
  • Holiday Lights
    Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. Lights used outdoors need to be listed for outdoor use. 
  •  Candles and Holiday Decorations
    Avoid using lit candles. However if you do use them, make sure they are in a stable holder away from combustible materials. Place them where they cannot be easily knocked over. Never leave a candle unattended. When you leave the room or retire for the evening make sure the candles are extinguished. Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant holiday decorations. Place items away from candles or other heat sources.

    Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to develop and practice your home escape plan.

    This year, let’s make Fire Safety a Holiday Tradition







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