Fire Safety for the Holidays
Home fire safety is a concern year-round, but the holiday season always sparks more incidents than any other. Here are some precautions you should take with your live Christmas tree.
The frigid temperatures sweeping through Pinellas County have many residents cranking up their heaters, but with live Christmas trees, added heat can be a fire safety concern.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, fires during this time of year claim over 400 lives and injure more than 1600 people. They cause an estimated $990 million in damages nationwide.
Fortunately, Largo is safer than most cities.
"We don't have too many instances where trees can catch fire," said Edward Mullins, Largo Fire Department's Fire Marshall. "It's more common up north where they use portable heating devices."
In order to keep it that way, here are some safety tips you can follow each and every year to ensure a fire-free holiday season:
- Check smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly.
- Check live trees regularly for dryness. Simply touch the trunk of the tree. If it's sticky, then it's safe.
- When choosing a tree, test the moisture and liveliness by bouncing the stump and visually measuring how many needles fall off. If there are a lot, move on to the next tree.
- For those who prefer artificial trees, make sure the tree is made of non-flammable or flame retardant materials.
- Never set any tree close to a heating source.
- Inspect decorative lights. Make sure there are no frayed wires, broken bulbs, bare spots or cracked sockets.
- Don't plug lights into an extension cord unless the cord is plugged into the wall first.
- Don't leave holiday lights on while unattended.
Taking these simple precautions will ensure a safe holiday season.