Reno Fire Department offers holiday safety tips
The United States Fire Administration reports that 1 in every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires result in death. The Reno Fire Department (RFD) offers the following holiday safety tips:
Choosing a Tree
- If you're buying an artificial tree, it should bear the "Fire Resistant" label. While this type of tree can catch fire, it will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
- If you're buying a natural tree, buy the freshest you can find. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. When tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. Cut approximately 2 inches off the trunk’s base to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter.
- Because heated rooms dry out natural trees rapidly, keep the stand filled with water; check the water level daily. Soon after December 25, plan on getting the tree out of the house. A dry tree will combust very rapidly once ignited.
Decorating the Tree
- Set up the tree away from fireplaces, portable heaters and heater vents. Place it out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. A tree should be at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
- Use only lights tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters' Laboratories. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Miniature lights are preferred, for their cool-burning bulbs.
- Only one extension cord should be used per outlet. Be careful where you place electrical cords: Don't run electrical cords under rugs. Walking traffic can weaken the insulation and the wires can overheat, increasing the chances for fire or electric shock.
- Turn off all lights before going to bed or leaving the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
- Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree (even an artificial tree).
- 2 out of 5 home decoration fires are started by candles. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and make sure they cannot tip over.
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
Cooking Safety Tips
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking turkey or other holiday meals, and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot, and children should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure children stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over children, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
More information can be found at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website.