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Advertisement December fire safety reminders
by Article submitted by the City of Marion Fire Department · December 16th, 2016


Did you know there are more fires in December than most other months of the year? And they are most common in the weeks surrounding the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The Marion Fire Department wants you and your family to be safe this holiday season and offers these tips to keep in mind.

Real Christmas Trees:

The National Fire Protection Agency offers the following instructions if you opt to display a real Christmas tree.

1. When choosing that perfect tree, pick one with nice green needles that do not fall off when you touch them.

2. Before placing the tree in the tree stand inside your house, cut about 1-2" away from the base of the trunk.

3. Make sure the tree is away from any heat sources like fireplaces, candles, radiators, heat vents, or lights.

4. Make sure the tree is not blocking any exit or the path to an exit.

5. Add water to the tree stand every day so that the tree maintains a high moisture content.

6. Read the labels on the Christmas lights to see how many strings can safely be plugged in together. Plugging too many together can cause them to overheat and cause a tree to start on fire. Make sure they are listed for indoor or outdoor use depending on where you are using them.

7. Do not use any lights that have broken bulbs or have damaged wiring. One out of every three fires that started in a Christmas tree was caused by an electrical problem. If you are leaving or going to bed, be sure to unplug the Christmas lights.

A real Christmas tree can be very safe if these guidelines are followed; however a dry tree that catches on fire can completely destroy a room in less than a minute!

Candles:
December is also the peak month for fires started by candles. One-third of all fires that are started by candles begin in a bedroom. Candles can be safe with certain precautions.

1. A minimum of 12" of clearance should be kept around all candles. The

majority of candle fires are started because combustibles were stored too closely. Drapes or curtains that can be blown into the candle flame are a common problem.

2. Candles should be placed on a solid surface so they can't tip over. The surface should not have anything combustible in case the candle tips over.

3. Candles should never be left unattended, so make sure they are extinguished when you leave or when you are sleeping.

4. Be extra careful when using candles around children or pets who can accidently tip them over.

5. Use battery-operated lights that have the same appearance as a candle but without the fire risk.

Cooking: The holidays are a great time to get together and share a meal, but over 50 percent of all residential fires in the United States are caused by cooking. The thing that almost all cooking fires have in common is that they were unattended. That means someone put food on the stove or in the oven and then got distracted with a phone call or something else and forgot that they put food on. Almost all cooking fires can be prevented by being diligent about staying near the kitchen when food is cooking. Staying focused on your cooking is the best way to prevent a fire that could devastate your holiday.

Having a fire extinguisher that is in working order and accessible can save your home by allowing you to extinguish a fire while it is still small! Many people have fire extinguishers, but they are very old or are buried in a cabinet behind a bunch of other stuff. Fire spreads quickly, so you have to be able to get to the extinguisher right away.

From everyone at the Marion Fire Department - best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.
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