The area SERVPRO franchise has offered tips to local residents to help ensure that the warm glow of holiday decorations doesn't erupt into a destructive and potentially deadly holiday fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the top five days for residential candle fires are Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year's Day, Halloween and Dec. 23. In addition, Christmas tree fires cause $13.8 million in direct property damage each year, and holiday light-related fires are responsible for another $7.9 million annually.
"For many of us, the holidays wouldn't be the same without a Christmas tree or glowing candles," Executive Vice President of SERVPRO Industries, Inc., Rick Isaacson said. "But it's important to follow some common sense guidelines to help prevent your celebration from turning into a tragedy."
The organization offers the following tips from the United States Fire Administration to help keep the holidays bright and safe.
Candle Safety Tips
* Consider using battery operated flameless candles instead of wax candles,
* If you do use traditional candles, place them in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders where they cannot be easily knocked down,
* Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets,
* Never allow children to play with matches, lighters or candles, and
* Don't put candles on your Christmas tree or approach the tree with a burning candle.
Holiday Lights Safety Tips
* Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires and other problems. Discard and replace damaged strings of lights,
* Don't overload electrical sockets. Never link more than three light strands unless the directions indicate it is safe to do so,
* Check the wires on your lights periodically. If the wire feels warm, remove and discard the string of lights, and
* Turn off your holiday lights when you leave the house or go to bed.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
* Cut natural trees at a 45-degree angle to allow for maximum water absorption,
* Select a natural tree that is fresh. If the tree "rains" needles when you bounce the trunk on the ground, select another tree,
* Position the tree well away from sources of heat, including heat vents and fireplaces,
* Keep natural tree stands filled with water at all times,
* Don't leave a natural tree up for more than two weeks and discard the tree immediately if it becomes dry, and
* Use only non-flammable decorations on the tree, and select artificial trees that are labeled "fire-retardant."
"Holiday decorations are beautiful, but they are a real source of potential danger as well," Isaacson said. "SERVPRO hopes that these tips will ensure a happy and safe holiday season for homeowners in the Brazil community."
For more information about SERVPRO, call 446-8155.