MCFRS News Release
Have an Escape Plan - Get Out Alive and Uninjured
Injury and fire loss increase an average 61% and 43% respectively
Typically the winter months of December, January and February are the busiest in terms of emergency fire responses for area fire and rescue departments. Cooking, candles left burning attended and dried out Christmas trees could pose a particular fire hazard this time of year and, in fact continue to be a potential cause of fires in Montgomery County. Fire Chief Richard Bowers and the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service want to help make your holidays more joyful and safe. By taking the simple safety precautions listed below, you can help ensure that you and your loved ones will have a Fire Safe Home for the Holidays!
It is important that all residents know to have a working smoke alarm on each level of a home, have an escape plan (know how to get out quickly) and call the fire department from a safe area, preferably a neighbor’s house. Always Remember! If a fire starts in your home GET OUT and call 911 IMMEDIATELY closing the door to the room on fire as you go! DO NOT DELAY as fire doubles in size every minute!
Holiday Safety Tips
Lights and Candles
- Decorate your tree using only UL (Underwriters' Lab Inc.) approved lights and cords. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords
- Use no more than three strings of lights on one extension cord, and never run an electrical cord under a carpet. Be sure to secure electrical cords so that children cannot pull them and topple the tree.
- Turn off the tree lights when you go to bed, depart from home or leave the tree in an unattended room.
- Keep burning candles out of children s and pet s reach; keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked away. Make sure they are in stable holders. Do not leave candles unattended especially around children or pets.
- Do not place candles near draperies or anything that might easily catch fire. Make sure you put out candles when you go to bed or leave the home.
NOTE: Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree! Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame candles, lighters or matches.
- Never leave cooking food unattended it is the number one cause of house fires.
- Make sure you wear close-fitting clothing when cooking.
- Put pans on back burners and turn all pot handles toward the back of the stove.
- Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen. Close supervision is essential, whether children are helping an adult cook or simply watching.
- When selecting a tree for the Holiday, needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle 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, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard. A safer option is to buy a fire-resistant artificial tree.
- Use a wide-based stand to make sure the tree is secure and will not fall over. Keep your tree in a container full of water, and check it daily.
- Keep the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators and heating vents. Decorate your tree with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that are breakable, have small detachable parts, metal hooks or look like food or candy on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
- Make sure tree lights are hung out of reach of young children. Also, cut back the lower branches to avoid eye injuries to small children.
- Never burn Christmas tree branches, dried wreaths treated wood or wrapping paper in your fireplace. Dispose of your tree promptly after the holidays. Montgomery County residents may be able to recycle their Christmas trees after December 26, 2006 by placing them at the on their regular recycling days. Later, usually in February trees may be recycled through the County’s curbside yard trim collection program, but must be cut into smaller pieces.
Dangerous time of year –
- The few days prior to Christmas and the day after (December 24 thru December 26), according to the United States Fire Administration, deaths, injuries and fire loss increase an average 50%, 61% and 43% respectively.
- It is estimated that there are Christmas trees in over one-third of all households at this time of year. These fires cause an annual national average of 250 injuries and 40 fatalities.
- The typical ignition scenario involves shorted electrical lights or exposure to an open flame, such as a candle.