• San Marino Fire Marshal Touts Holiday Safety


    The San Marino Fire Marshal would like to issue a friendly reminder during this Holiday Season. Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Following these few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Have a fire safe holiday season.

    Christmas Trees
    What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”
    Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are usually not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

    Selecting a Tree for the Holidays
    Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

    Caring for Your Tree
    Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to have any heat sources a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

    Disposing of Your Tree
    Never burn your tree or any parts of it. 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 having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
    Holiday Lights

    Maintain Your Holiday Lights
    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 Overload Electrical Outlets
    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 – they should not be warm to the touch. Never leave holiday lights unattended.

    Holiday Decorations
    Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
    All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

    Don’t Block Exits
    Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit way. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry/exit way puts you and your family at risk.
    Never Put Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace
    Wrapping paper in the fireplace can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.

    Candle Care
    Avoid Using Lit Candles
    Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
    If You Do Use Lit Candles
    Make sure candles are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. Never leave a room or go to bed with candles burning.
    Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree
    Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters or matches.

    Sincerely,

    Mark Phillips – Fire Marshal
    San Marino Fire Department

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