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Front Page » December 5, 2002 » Local News » Practice precautionary measures to alleviate fire risks
Published 4,691 days ago

Practice precautionary measures to alleviate fire risks

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Staff writer

Christmas is a time filled with joy and excitement. The upcoming holiday represents a time when Carbon County residents decorate homes and search for the perfect tree which will be the centerpiece of living rooms for several weeks.

Even though the holiday traditions display cheer, the trees can become dangerous and even deadly.

Although freshly cut pines are beautiful, the trees can become fire hazards. That is why fire prevention experts suggest that local residents purchase artificial, fire retardant trees.

Although the artificial trees may be less attractive and not as fragrant, the products are safer and cleaner than real evergreens.

Carbon County residents opting to follow the real tree tradition are reminded of the proper use and display of the festive ornaments.

Before placing the tree inside homes, local residents should make sure to cut one inch off the trunk to aid in water absorption.

If the tree is not to be decorated immediately, leave it outdoors until it is time to hang the lights and ornaments on its green branches.

Once the tree is placed in the home, make sure that is has enough water.

It is estimated that a six-foot tree will use one gallon of water every two days. Therefore, check the water level daily and make sure that the tree stand will hold at least one gallon of water.

It is also suggested that a commercial preservative be mixed with the water. The mixture will ensure that the tree does not dry out quickly.

As soon as needles begin to fall to the floor, it is time for people to dispose of a tree.

Dropping needles are a definite sign that the tree is drying out. Dropping needles also serve as a warning signal that the tree is becoming an extreme fire danger.

When selecting a spot for the tree to be placed, make sure that location is away from floor heaters, fireplaces or other heating sources inside the residence.

Placing pines near home heating sources not only dries out the tree, but increases the chances of a fire erupting.

In addition, residents should place the trees at locations away from frequent movement.

Placing decorated pines in high traffic area inside the home increases the chances of the trees falling or tipping over. To prevent this from happening, it is a good idea to secure the tree to a wall or ceiling to make sure that children or pets cannot knock it over.

America's fire death rate is one of the highest per capita in the industrialized world.

According to safety experts, fires kill more than 4,000 Americans and injure more than 23,000 people annually. With Christmas trees on display and holiday candles burning, the winter season is the most likely time of year for house fires to occur.

Therefore, when decorating begins, it is important to make sure that all ornaments and lights will not create the danger of a fire from igniting.

It is extremely important for residents to use only UL-listed lights and refrain from linking more than three strands together.

All connections should be tight. In addition, all bulbs and cords should be in good condition, not loose or fraying which will cause a short.

Carbon County residents should also make sure that wall outlets and extension cords are not overloaded.

One of the most common mistakes made during the holidays is leaving tree lights on while not being watched by an adult.

Even if the lights will only be left on for a short period time while unattended, people should still unplug the holiday decorations.

A fire can break out quickly and spread rapidly throughout the home in a matter of minutes.

Ornaments which are placed on the tree should be flame resistant if at all possible.

Candles of any kind should never be used on a tree, artificial or natural.

Candles have become a popular trend. Candles make the house smell festive, but can also ignite a fire quite easily.

Because many local households will use candles during the Christmas season, it is important to remember that the items should never be left burning without someone in the room.

It is also important to make sure that candles are out of the reach of children.

Candles should be burned according to the directions on the package. If no time frame is given, it is suggested that candles do not burn longer than three to four hours, even if the items are attended.

Most importantly, never leave the home or go to sleep with a candle burning. A fire can erupt in a matter of seconds.

Once the holiday season has ended, people should properly dispose of the trees.

Safety experts recommend against burning discarded holiday trees in a fireplace. Dry Christmas trees burn extremely hot and quickly. The blaze may rapidly leave the fireplace and move into the home.

In addition, pine trees are very oily and may damage the fireplace.

The Christmas tree has become an American tradition and will continue to be the focal point of holiday decor for numerous Carbon County residents.

By practicing several simple precautionary measures, local residents can ensure that the trees will remain an object to enjoy, not a fire hazard.

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