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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Christmas fire safety

Friday, December 13, 2002

It takes less than two minutes for a live Christmas tree to become engulfed in flames and the room temperature to exceed 700 degrees.

Tom Champion, Jackson Volunteer Fire Chief, advises when you shop for a live tree, test the freshness by closing your fist over a branch and pulling the needles. If a large number of needles comes off in your hand, the tree is dried out and you should avoid purchasing this tree.

"Some trees are treated with a flame retardant. Be sure to ask if this has been done to the tree you are considering. Also, check and change batteries in your smoke and fire detectors and make sure fire extinguishers are charged when bringing a live tree into your home," Champion said.

Cut at least one inch off the base of the tree when you get home so it can draw in water. Fill the tree holder with water at least two inches above the base of the tree. Leave a clear path between presents under the tree to allow you to check the water level daily and replenish as needed.

"Use no more than five strands of lights per tree. Don't stack the plugs. Spread them out over two or three outlets. And always turn off the lights at bedtime or when you're not at home," he said.

Ground Fault Interrupter receptacles should be used whenever possible. These are the receptacles that have a reset button, found mainly around sink areas. He advised that you should use only lights rated for outdoor use that have an in-line fuse and never use lights with frayed or broken wires.

"Never let small children plug or unplug Christmas lights. We use our fingers to plug and unplug, but children need to use their entire hand and are at a much higher risk of electrical shock or electrocution," Champion said.

If you need to use extension cords, never run more than 50 feet at a time, that they will carry the load you need to use and they are rated for outside use. Never run them under furniture, windows or doors.

Many people burn candles for their scent and for decoration. Make sure they are placed in a nonflammable base and never let candles burn when your asleep or not at home.

Only burn fireplace logs or wood in your fireplace. Never burn treated lumber, railroad ties, wrapping paper or cardboard. And have your fireplace flue cleaned each year, he said.

One more warning was included in the fireman's holiday fire safety advise: Talk to your children about fire safety and make sure they know two ways out and have a designated meeting place outside your home.

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