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Roswell FD: Decorate Safely for the Holidays

Holiday decorations can pose a safety hazard, so be careful with Christmas trees, candles and other decorations.

Fresh-cut Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations create a festive atmosphere during the holiday season. But many holiday decorations also pose safety hazards.

“Decorating for the holidays is a treasured tradition for many of us,” said Mike Gillerlane, a senior assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. “But it’s important to keep safety in mind, especially when dealing with fresh trees, candles and other combustibles.”

More than 130 people die each year as a result of fires caused by Christmas trees or candles, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Those fires also result in more than $375 million worth of property damage a year, according to the CPSC study from 2006 to 2008.

“A well-watered tree, carefully placed candles and carefully checked holiday light sets will prevent the joy of the holidays from turning into a trip to the emergency room or the loss of your home,” said Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the CPSC.

Here are some important safety reminders from Roswell Fire Department (RFD):

  • We think of fireplaces and chimneys as safe places to burn fires, but the RFD does have a few recommendations for you: don't use an excessive amount of wood, do only use fire starter logs per the instructions, do wait for ashes to cool before disposing of them away from the home in a metal container and finally, do have your chimney cleaned by a reputable chimney service once a year.
  • For those who put up a live Christmas tree every year, the RFD suggests you do use a balled and burlap tree with the roots still attached, but regardless, any kind of tree does need to be watered frequently, definitely don't set the tree near the fireplace or any kind of heat source and don't ever try to burn the tree in your fireplace after the holidays.
  • When it comes to candles and other décor make sure you do extinguish candles when you are not in the room, do make sure an adult is present whenever a child lights a candle and discourage them from using matches or lighters when you're not present, don't staple light wires when decorating the home and do always check for damage before hanging lights and don't use any kind of highly combustible décor, such as hay, straw or dry garlands.
  • And finally, in general, do check your smoke detectors and change the batteries every six months, do have and practice an escape plan with your family and do talk about fire safety often with your family.

Click here to see how quickly a Christmas tree can catch fire and completely burn.

To check with the RFD for more information on any of these tips, contact them at 770-641-3730.

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