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‘Tis the season for fire and burn safety

Ellis County Fire Marshal Investigator Jim Pharr wants to ensure Ellis County residents enjoy a safe and happy holiday season and offers these fire safety tips from the Burn Institute (www.burninstitute.org).

The holiday season is just around the corner and for most people this is a festive and joyous time of year. However, with all the fun and festivities comes the potential for burn and fire hazards in your home. Every year, fires occurring during the holiday season injure more than 2,000 people and cause nearly $100 million in damage. There are some precautionary tips you can take to greatly reduce your chance of becoming a holiday fire statistic.

Christmas trees

When choosing a cut tree, look for freshness. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. The needles should be difficult to pull from the branches and should not break when bent between your fingers. When you bounce the tree trunk on the floor, a shower of needles should not fall. If they do, that shows that the tree is dry and potentially a fire hazard.
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The tree will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. At all times, make sure you keep the tree stand filled with water.
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or have it hauled away by a community pick-up service.


Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires ñ they should not be warm to the touch.
Always unplug lights before leaving your home or going to sleep.


Make sure candles are placed in a sturdy, non-combustible holder.
Never burn candles near or on a Christmas tree or combustible decorations.
Keep candles away from flammable materials including papers, towels and silk and dried flower arrangements. Keep in mind that curtains can drift across a candle flame and ignite.
Do not leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.
Keep wicks trimmed to º inch, and extinguish candles when they burn down to within two-inches of the holder.
Do not leave candles burning unattended. Extinguish all candles before you leave a room.

Other tips
If you are using an artificial Christmas tree, make sure it is flame retardant. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
Never throw wrapping paper in a fireplace. It can produce dangerous sparks and a chemical buildup that could cause an explosion.
Remember to have a smoke alarm installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
Create and practice a Family Fire Escape Plan.
The Burn Institute is a nonprofit health agency dedicated to reducing the number of burn injuries and deaths in San Diego and Imperial counties through fire and burn prevention education, burn care research and treatment and burn survivor support services. For more information on how to keep your family safe from fires and burns, visit the Burn Institute online at www.burninstitute.org.

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Posted by on Nov 29 2006. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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