Christmas Fire Safety 101

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    A U.S. forest service firefighter battles towering flames burning along Little Tugunga Road, in the Angeles National Forest, about 20 miles north of downtown Los Angeles on Sunday Oct. 12, 2008. Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson says the blaze has charred up to 750 acres in the rugged area of Little Tujunga Canyon. (AP Photo/Mike Meadows)

    While the song may ring true that this is "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," is also the most dangerous.

    Fire danger is No. 1 on the list and Christmas decorations are a prime reason. Candles alone start an estimated 15,000 a year nationwide.

    The good people at the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District sent along some helpful tips we thought we'd share.

    If you decorate a tree, they offer the following precautions:

    • Never leave a lighted Christmas tree or other decorative lighting display unattended. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections, and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
    • Natural Christmas trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk, get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times. Do not put the tree within three feet of a fireplace, space heater, radiator, or heat vent.
    • Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them. Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level, and keep lights out of reach.
    • Do not burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood, or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.

    Safe Kids USA also offers these tips to prevent poisoning:

    • Keep alcohol (including baking extracts) out of reach and do not leave alcoholic drinks unattended.
    • Color additives used in fireplace fires are a toxic product and should be stored out of reach. Artificial snow can be harmful if inhaled, so use it in a well-vented space.
    • Mistletoe berries, Holly Berry and Jerusalem Cherry can be poisonous. If they are used in decorating, make sure children and pets cannot reach it.
    • In a poison emergency, call the national Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.