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The 12 days of Christmas fire safety

We are in one of the most festive times of the year. So, let us all understand a little bit more about some fire safety precautions that we should be aware of.

At this the time of year we tend to create a great deal of atmosphere by festooning our home with decorations.

We bring cut or living Christmas trees inside our homes; we hang garlands about our doors, mantels and windows. We have many forms of paper goods about the Yule tree and we do a lot of extra cooking in the kitchen for our holiday meals.

We hang holiday lights both inside and out and we tend to have more fires in our fireplaces, all in the spirit of the season.

But do we really realize the hazards that go along with those adornments? Are we really in tune with what we are doing?

I have compiled my “12 Days of Christmas Fire Safety” checklist for your consideration and implementation.

1. On the first day of Christmas: Check to see that your Christmas tree lights conform to UL lighting standards. Sometimes it is better to replace them every couple of years than to use them year after year.

2. On the second day of Christmas: Never place candles near your Christmas trees, trimmings or furnishings. Use hurricane glass globes to protect the flame. Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Keep the reservoir at the base of the Christmas tree full so the tree can drink water and be supple.

3. On the third day of Christmas: Make sure your family and guests staying for the holidays know what to do in an emergency. Make a fire escape plan. An ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold.

4. On the fourth day of Christmas: Decorations can burn easily, so don’t attach them to lights or around heaters. Be careful what you put on the mantel.

5. On the fifth day of Christmas: Never overload electrical sockets. Take extra special care with Christmas lights; follow instructions on their packaging. Use surge protectors when stringing lights and run one less strand of lights than recommended.

6. On the sixth day of Christmas: Most fires start in the kitchen, so never leave the stove unattended. Have a couple of fire extinguishers ready for use if needed. Keep garden hoses at hand outside.

7. On the seventh day of Christmas: Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s safely. The risk of accidents, especially in the kitchen, is greater after alcohol is consumed. Also, use a designated driver.

8. On the eighth day of Christmas: Check your fireplace, chimney and spark arrestors. Clean your chimney in early fall every few years. Prune back branches in or around your chimney top at least 20 feet.

9. On the ninth day of Christmas: Make sure you have a working smoke alarm. Check the batteries in the alarm and make sure to clean it and remove any dust inside it.

10. On the 10th day of Christmas: Make sure candles and cigarettes are completely extinguished before going to bed. And make sure matches and lighters are out of the reach of children.

11. On the 11day of Christmas: Take a second to check on elderly relatives and neighbors during the holidays. Sometimes they forget to follow some of these safety precautions.

12. On the 12th day of Christmas: Check and double-check these important precautions again. Check around the outside of your home and yard to be sure you are fire-safe. Clean your roof and rain gutters of leaves and debris.

Your safety and enjoyment of the season can be more pleasurable knowing that you have taken a little extra time to secure your home for fire safety.


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