The winter holidays are a time for family and friends to get together. Holiday décor that glitters and glows is a part of the season, but it is important to remember that everyone should be careful with candles, holiday lights and Christmas trees.
“As loved ones gather this holiday season, we would like to remind residents that planning is one of the best ways to avoid a fire emergency,” said Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone. “Fire departments across the County are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist in an emergency and on behalf of my fellow Commissioners, I would like to thank them for helping keep our communities safe.”
Fire safety tips for the Christmas tree include:
- When selecting a Christmas tree, inspect the tree to make sure it is fresh with green needles that do not fall off when touching it.
- Cutting two inches from the base of the trunk before placing the tree in the stand.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Keeping the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree.
- Keeping the tree watered at all times by making sure the stand is filled with water daily.
- Never use lit candles as decorations on the tree.
- Always turn off the tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Removing the tree once the holiday is over. Christmas trees that have dried out are a fire hazard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems and having a heating source too close to the tree causes more than 25% of the fires.
Fire safety tips for cooking include:
- Make sure that those using the stove or stovetop are doing so responsibly by keeping a watch on the food cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking food and if you leave the kitchen, turn off the appliances in use.
- Any items that can catch on fire, keep it away from the flame source.
- If there is a fire, get out of the building, close the door behind you and contact 9-1-1
The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking and most kitchen fires involve the stove according to the NFPA.
Fire safety tips for other holiday decorations include:
- Choosing decorations that are flame resistant.
- Keep in mind some string lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replacing any string lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulbs.
- Not overloading electrical outlets.
- Keeping decorations away from windows and doorways.
- Making sure to test your smoke alarms.
- Remember to blow out lit candles or turn off stringed lights when you leave the home or go to bed.
“The holiday season gives people an incredible opportunity to gather and celebrate but fire safety needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds,” said Commissioner Nick DiRocco, liaison to the Monmouth County Fire Marshal. “Thank you to our incredible first responders for their service to our communities and please remain safe during the holidays.”
For more information about the Monmouth County Fire Marshal, go to www.visitmonmouth.com.