The winter holidays are a great time to celebrate with friends, family, neighbors and your community! With the cold weather and holiday decorations, it’s also a time to implement winter safety.
Holiday decorations:
More than 50 percent of December house fires are started by candles. LED-lighted candles could be used as an alternative to live flame candles.
Whenever live flame candles are used, be sure they are never placed near anything flammable. Trim the wick to one-eighth of an inch before lighting. Never leave a lit candle unattended, and always extinguish all candles before leaving a room. Place candles on a stable, heat-resistant surface, and never burn them all the way down.
Live and artificial trees each pose their own risks. A pre-lit artificial tree may have risk of electrical fire, so ensure your artificial tree is flame-resistant. This is not fire-proof, but flame-resistant.
Live trees in the home MUST stay hydrated. Cut two inches off the base of the tree before placing the tree into the stand. Then water your tree base DAILY. Bringing a live tree into the heated home immediately begins to “dry” the needles and branches. Keeping the base of the tree full of water will ensure the tree is able to stay well-hydrated. Place your tree at least three feet away from any heat source or open flames.
Always inspect your holiday lighting for bare wires and/or broken bulbs. Electricity and lighting are the cause of 43 percent of all tree fires during the holidays. Replace any strings of lights which have broken or bare wires, replace any broken bulbs, only use indoor or outdoor lights as they are intended, and NEVER use lit candles to decorate the tree. Always turn out the lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
With snow and ice on the roads, it’s time to use caution when driving. Leave early to be prepared for unforeseen weather-related delays. Follow snow parking bans when in place, drive with extreme caution for the conditions of the road, and always wear your seat belt.
Following these winter safety tips will surely help us all ring in the new year!
Have a safe and Happy Holidays everyone!
Randy Richman is a part-time Brookfield firefighter and paramedic, a firefighting instructor and regional director for hyperbaric medicine for Shared Health Service Inc.