From a Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office news release.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding residents that along with the joys of the holiday season comes a greater risk for fire. For your safety and the safety of your family, make sure you have working smoke alarms inside and outside all sleeping areas, and on every level of your home. Be fire smart as you deck the halls this season with these safety tips:
- Test for quality and freshness. Look for very little needle drop when a trunk is shaken or bounced. Pass on faded, brittle trees.
- Caring for your tree. For better water absorption, cut away at least an inch from the base. Place the tree in water immediately to keep the cut fresh. Remember to water your tree daily!
- Tree placement at home. Place your tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources. Heat will rapidly dry out a tree, creating a fire hazard in your home.
- Inspect your holiday lights before putting them up. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections.
- Safely power your lights. Only link three strands of lights together at a time. Use an extension cord before plugging strands in to a power outlet. Flickering lights, tripped circuit breakers, or blown fuses are warning signs that your home’s electrical outlets may be overloaded.
- Reduce the risk of property damage. Always turn off lights before leaving home or going to sleep.
- Selecting decorations. Decorations, including artificial trees, should be nonflammable or flame-retardant.
- Candle safety. Consider using battery-operated candles. Extinguish all candles before going to sleep, leaving the room, or leaving your home.
- Keep windows and doors free of decorations. Make sure all escape routes are kept clear of furniture, decorations or other items.
For more information on fire safety and how to prevent fires, visit the State Fire Marshal’s website at: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/firemars.htm.