Holiday Safety Tips

The Merced City Fire Department would like to wish your family a safe and happy holiday season --Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years--is a prime time for residential fires. The following holiday fire safety information is being offered to help ensure that your family will be safe.

CHRISTMAS TREES:
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· Trees displayed in public buildings must be treated with an approved State Fire Marshal Flame Retardant Chemical.

· Unless your tree is a "choose and cut", re-cut the trunk at least 1 inch above the original cut.

· Place the tree in a container or stand that will hold enough hot tap water to cover the stem at least two inches. Add water as needed.

· Display the tree away from heat sources.

· Use a stand that will hold the tree securely and is not easily tipped over.

· Do not locate trees in front of exit doors, in exit ways, or corridors.

LIGHTS:

· Use only U.L. approved products.

· Check for old or worn insulations, cracked or broken sockets and loose connections. Discard if any of these conditions exit.

· If using lights outside, be sure they are labeled "for outside use". Never use indoor lights outside.

· Always unplug lights when leaving the house, retiring for the night, or when otherwise not in use.

· Never put lights on metallic trees.

· Never run extension cords under carpets, across walkways, under heaters, or pinched behind furniture.

· Do not overload outlets.

CANDLES:

· Keep candles away from tree and other flammable decorations.

· Place in sturdy, non-flammable holders or non-tip holders.

· Keep candles well away from curtains and other combustible articles.

· Never put candles in windows or near exits.

· Never leave candles burning unattended or within reach of children.

· Extinguish candles by wetting the wick before leaving the room or retiring for the night.

FIREPLACES:

· Have your chimney inspected and cleaned prior to burning season. Be sure it is equipped with a proper spark arrester.

· Keep screen or glass doors closed to confine embers and sparks.

· Never burn Christmas tree branches or gift wrapping in fireplace.

· Do not leave children unattended when fireplace is in use.

· Keep combustible decorations away from and around fireplaces.

· Do not break apart man-made logs.

· Make sure fire is safely contained before leaving the room or retiring for the night.

· Dispose of ashes in a metal container. Never put ashes in cardboard boxes, paper bags or plastic containers.

· Place metal container with discarded ashes at least six feet away from structures and combustibles.

· Discarded ashes will continue to smolder for days, up to three or more, so take note when placing on curb for garbage pickup.

SPACE HEATERS:

· Keep space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, bedding, clothing, walls and other combustibles.

· Use only U.L. approved space heaters approved for indoor use.

PARTY SAFETY:

· Use flame retardant decorations.

· Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays.

· Empty ashtrays often--wet their contents before dumping them.

· Check cushions and furniture for smoldering cigarettes.

KITCHEN:

· Do not wear loose fitting clothing when cooking.

· Put a lid on the pot or pan to extinguish food or grease fires.

· Turn off heat and close oven door to extinguish a fire in the oven.

· Keep pot handles and electrical appliance cords out of the reach of small children.

PLAN AHEAD:

· Have two emergency escape routes out of each room.

· Have fire extinguisher handy, and know how to use it.

· Smoke detector(s) - install fresh batteries (if applicable) and test regularly.

· Carbon monoxide detector(s) - install fresh batteries and test regularly.

· All family members should know to call "911" in case of an emergency.