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. Be sure to take these safety tips with you, as you spread holiday cheer.
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, always extinguish all candles before leaving a room, place them 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; ensure that your artificial tree is flame resistant. This is not fire proof, but flame resistant.
Live trees in the home must stay hydrated. Bringing a live tree into a heated home immediately begins to dry the needles and branches. Cut two inches off the base of the tree before placing it into the stand, and water your tree base daily. Keeping the base of the tree full of water will ensure that the tree is able to stay well hydrated. Place your tree at least three feet away from any heat source or open flame.
Electrical lighting is the cause of 43 percent of all tree fires during the holidays. Inspect light strings for broken or bare wires and broken bulbs and replace them. Use indoor or outdoor lights only as they are intended, never use lit candles to decorate the tree, and 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 captain in the Brookfield Township Volunteer Fire Department, a part-time Brookfield firefighter and paramedic, and a firefighting instructor.