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The original item was published from 12/6/2016 11:04:24 AM to 12/27/2016 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: December 6, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Tips for a Safe Holiday Season from Madison Fire & Rescue

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition during the holiday season. Unfortunately, all too often, these decorations increase the chance of fire. Christmas trees, candle usage, and holiday decorations significantly contribute to the seasonal causes of home fires. Add to this the hectic and festive nature of the holidays, and the chance for home fires grows even more. However, Madison Fire & Rescue believes that a few simple holiday fire safety tips can ensure that we all have a Merry Christmas!

Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays, and December is the peak month for home candle fires. Statistics show that candles start two of every fire home decoration fires. With this in mind, Madison Fire & Rescue encourages all of our residents to consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles. However, if you do use traditional candles, please keep them at least 12 inches away from any combustible material, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Since one-third of all candle fires begin in the bedroom, we ask that you limit your candle usage to areas where you are not likely to fall asleep. Finally, never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.

Across the United States, fire departments will respond to approximately 250 home structure fires caused by Christmas trees each year. One third of these tree fires are a result of an electrical problem on or close to the tree, and one in five will be the result of a heat source being too close to the tree. Madison Fire & Rescue would like to prevent any of these incidences occurring in our city and offers the following tips for picking, placing, and lighting your tree:
  • If you use an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant
  • If you choose a fresh tree, make sure green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the sand, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to check the water level daily.
  • Make sure the tree does not block or limit access to an exit, is at least 3 feet away from any heat source like fire places, space heaters, radiators, candles, and lights.
  • Only use lights that have a label of an independent testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for the intended use (indoor verses outdoor).
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree as soon as possible. Dried out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage.
By following these fire prevention tips and measures, you can have a safe and festive season. “The holidays can quickly turn from joyful to tragic when a fire occurs,” says David Glassman, Madison Fire & Rescue’s Logistic Officer. “By taking these simple fire precautions, people can avoid many of the potential fire hazards and make this year a healthy and happy one.”
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