Tips for a safe Christmas

  1. Be careful if you decide to put up Christmas lights that require you to climb a ladder. Many people fall from ladders due to poor footing or from leaning too far to reach something. If possible, have a second person foot the ladder for you. If you must climb onto your roof, make sure that two to three rungs of the ladder extend beyond the roofline.
  2. Electrical demands will be increased due to Christmas lighting. It is important to check all Christmas lighting to insure that they work properly. Be sure that your electrical system can handle the increased load. If breakers trip, then it indicates that too much amperage is on that circuit, or there is a faulty connection somewhere. Be sure to utilize the proper wattage bulbs in Christmas lighting.
  3. If you bring a live tree into your home, be sure to keep it well watered. When excessive needles start dropping off of the tree, it may be necessary to remove the tree from your home. A Christmas tree that catches fire is like dousing the room with gasoline and lighting it. Keep the tree away from a stairway or exit.
  4. If you burn wood in a fireplace or woodstove, be careful to properly discard your ashes. If you remember, fireplace ashes that were placed at a doorway caused the fire that killed or injured a family in Connecticut. Fireplace ashes can maintain their heat for days after a fire. If you remove ashes, they need to be placed in a metal container, away from the house.
  5. Be sure to keep all Christmas packages at least three feet from all heat sources. It is also important not to burn wrapping paper in a fireplace or woodstove.
  6. Make sure that your smoke alarms are properly located and working, as they should. Test your smoke alarms regularly, as you will be adding numerous combustibles to the interior of your house.
  7. If you have a two-story home, or you live in an apartment on the second or third floor, then you must consider purchasing a rescue ladder. If you do purchase one or already own one, it is important to know how to deploy it, and descend it. As I have suggested in the past, it is best, when practicing, to climb it from the ground up, to become familiar with how it feels while on the ladder.
  8. With the extra lighting, a live Christmas tree, and more combustibles, it is important to have a practiced escape plan, which shows the secondary escape routes. It will be necessary to show everyone how to open windows, and maybe even remove screens. Exiting from a window is difficult when there is nothing pushing you to get out.
  9. If you are one that likes to burn candles, it is safer to burn candles that are in a glass or metal container. Most importantly, when you go out, blow them out.
  10. Cooking related fires account for the highest percentage of residential fires, whether single-family or multi-family dwellings. Cooking is a full-time job.

I wish each of you a safe and joyous Christmas holiday. I hope that these tips help you as you adorn your home with decorations of the oncoming season. Take the necessary steps to insure the safety of you and your family. I pray that no one will have to suffer a fire or even worse a fire injury or fatality this holiday season. God bless you.

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