Fire chief encourages residents to exercise holiday precautions
Every year, hundreds of children are injured and thousands of dollars in property damage occurs during the Christmas holiday.
With the season in full swing in Carbon County, Price Chief Paul Bedont reminds residents that every year fire departments respond to fires caused by Christmas trees and other decorations.
According to Bedont, the situation is exacerbated by the high cost of heating homes which has lead many residents to use wood and coal burning stoves as an efficient alternative heat source.
The problem with these heating appliances, is that they can create a high fire risk if precautions are not taken.
In order to make the home safer when putting out the Christmas tree Bedont recommended that residents:
Decorate the tree with lights listed by a testing laboratory. Some light are designed only for indoor or outdoor use but not both.
Smaller mini-bulbs produce less heat.
Only use extension cords which are approved by an authorized testing laboratory.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use tree lights. Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used.
Connect no more than three strands of push in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw in bulbs.
Always unplug the Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and extend the life of the decorations.
Never use lit candles to decorate a tree and make sure any lit candles in the room are placed well away from tree branches.
Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles.
Check for fresh, green needles and place the tree in a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.
Make sure to purchase fire retardant artificial trees.
Remember that children and pets are fascinated with Christmas trees.
Remember to keep a close eye on them and do not let them play with the lights or wiring.
Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces and radiators.
"Try to position the tree near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances and do not place the tree where it may block exits," said Bedont.
Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles.
Dried out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage or placed against the house.
The chief also provided a small list of recommendations for those who plan to use a coal or wood burning stove this holiday season.
Have the chimney cleaned by a licensed contractor.
When choosing to burn coal in the stove, make sure the appliance is rated for the right temperatures which the fossil fuel produces.
"Coal burns at roughly twice the temperature of wood," said Bedont.
Make sure there is enough distance between the stove and combustible materials, including floors, walls and ceilings.
Place the stove on a noncombustible, fire retardant base.
Burn only dry, well seasoned wood.
"This helps to prevent creosote build up which can lead to a chimney fire," said Bedont.
Don't use artificial logs in wood burning stoves. Those logs contain paraffins and are intended for fireplaces only.
A more detailed list of safe holiday fire practices is available from the Price City Fire Department.
According to the Price fire chief, a little pre-planning will not only give residents peace of mind, it may save lives.
The following are tips aimed at saving everyone in the home.
Make sure all children in the home know what to do in case of a fire. And assure they understand the escape plan that has been worked out within the home.
"Your plan should include every bedroom in the house since the majority of fires take place at night," said Bedont.
Make sure the home is stocked with smoke detectors that are in good working order and that all children in the home understand how to call 911.
"Do your children know where to meet up with you after exiting the home?" questioned Bedont. "And when was the last time you checked your smoke detectors and their batteries?"
Bedont reported that all Carbon residents needing further information contact the Price Fire Department.
"We hope you consider us a resource to help you and your family to be safe from the tragedies which a fire can create," concluded Bedont.
The department can be reached by dialing 636.3187 or in the case of emergency at 911.