PENINSULA - Pacific County Fire District No. 1 and the United States Fire Administration can help your family avoid the devastation that a fire during the upcoming holiday season can bring.
Selecting a Safe Tree for Your Holiday
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 is a fire hazard.
Caring for Your Tree
Do not place the tree near a fireplace or heating vent because the heat will dry out the tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Remember to keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Disposing of Your Tree
As soon as the tree becomes dry, it needs to be disposed of promptly. Recycling is the best way to dispose of the tree. Never put the tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
If you opt for an artificial tree, make sure that the tree has a fire-retardant label. If the tree is metal or aluminum, do not use any lights or electrical product to decorate them. Metal is a good conductor of electricity.
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. Unplug all decorative lighting before you go to bed or leave the house.
Use only approved lighting for outdoor use. Turn off electricity to the supply outlet before working with outdoor wiring. Run all outdoor cords above ground, keeping them out of the puddles. To prevent moisture from entering bulb sockets, turn the bulbs to face the ground.
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 51; they should not be warm to the touch.
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace, as it can throw off excessive heat and produce dangerous smoke.
Using lit candles on the tree invites a devastating fire. If you use candles in your home, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they can not easily be knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Have working smoke detectors installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.
Know when and how to call for help. Keep emergency numbers and your address posted on or near your telephone. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and know how to use it. Remember to practice your home escape plan so that all are familiar with it in the event of an emergency.
If you have any further questions, contact Fire Chief Thomas O'Donohue or Lt. Rodney Harrington at 665-4451.