The City of Douglas Fire Department would like to remind everyone that winter is the time of year that more fires are prevalent. Winter weather that interrupts electrical service will cause people to turn to alternative heating sources and will contribute to the increased risk of fire in winter. Holiday decorations also contribute to the increase of fire hazards during the winter months.
“Winter fires are preventable and the City of Douglas hopes that these tips will be helpful and citizens will use them to keep their family safe from fire during the upcoming months,” says Douglas Fire Chief Larry Wilson.
As you prepare for the winter and holiday celebrations, keep these fire safety tips in mind:
- When cooking in the kitchen, be sure to not cook with loose clothing or long sleeves that may catch fire. Do not leave the stove unattended.
- Space heaters need space; keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away. Do not use the stove as a heater.
- Use caution with holiday decorations and whenever possible, choose those made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials. Purchase only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.
- Do not overload extension cords. Connect no more than three strands of push-in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Always unplug lights before replacing light bulbs or fuses. Don't mount lights in any way that can damage the cord's wire insulation (i.e., using clips, not nails).
- Keep a watchful eye on children in the kitchen and when they are around the Christmas tree and do not let them play with the wiring or lights. Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
- Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
- Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and extend their life.
- 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. Place your tree in a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over. 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.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet (one meter) 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. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.
- Store matches and lighters up high, out of reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Before lighting a fire in the fireplace, make sure the fireplace and chimney has been properly inspected.
- Keep your dryer lint-free, clear of any debris that may spark a fire. Don’t leave the home with clothes in the dryer.
- For children who are home alone, make sure they have been taught preventive safety measures.
To find out more about Fire Safety, please contact the Douglas Fire Department at (912)384-4815 or go to www.cityofdouglas.com/fire.