The Plainfield Fire Protection District is participating in the holiday fire safety campaign called “Keep the Wreath Red” along with other area fire departments and fire districts. Every fire station is decorated with a holiday wreath with red lights on it. If a fire is caused by a holiday decoration a red light will be replaced with a white light. The goal is to raise awareness of holiday fire safety in an effort to keep all the wreaths red this holiday season!
Two out of every five home decoration related fires are caused by candles. December is the peak month for candle fires in the U.S. To help prevent a candle fire place candles on uncluttered surfaces at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Blow candles out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over. Avoid using candles in the bedroom where more than one-third of U.S. candle fires begin. Lastly, never leave a child or pet alone in a room with a burning candle. Consider using flameless candles which look and smell like real candles.
Christmas tree fires are not as common as candle fires however there are an average of 210 home fires per year in the U.S. that begin with the Christmas tree. The most common cause of Christmas tree fires is a heat source that’s too close to the tree. Here are some tips to prevent a Christmas tree or decoration related fire:
- When buying a fresh tree make sure the needles don’t fall off when touched. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk and add water to the tree stand. Give the tree water daily, don’t allow the water to dry up.
- A dry tree is a definite fire hazard and should not be left in the home, garage or placed outside near the home or any structure. Properly dispose of your Christmas tree as soon as it shows signs of drying out.
- Artificial trees should be labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
- Locate your Christmas tree so it’s not blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from any heat source including fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
- Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving your home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Only use lights, extension cords, timers and electric decorations rated for outdoor use when decorating outside.
- Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
- Read manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of light strands that can be connected and don’t overload extension cords.
By following fire prevention tips you can greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home and enjoy a safe holiday season while helping to “Keep the Wreath Red!” For more holiday fire safety information please visit the National Fire Protection Association website at www.nfpa.org/holiday, the Plainfield Fire Protection District website at www.plainfieldfpd.com or call us at 815-733-7314. When holiday shopping consider smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and escape ladders as gifts. The Plainfield Fire Protection District wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!