KINGSPORT – Winter holidays are a great time for families and friends to get together, but with that comes a greater risk for fire.
As you prepare to celebrate over the next few weeks, the Kingsport Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association have provided the following tips to ensure you have a happy and fire-safe holiday season.
• Choose holiday decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
• Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
• Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, not both. Be sure to check your lights before putting them up to determine which kind you have.
• Replace any strings of lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s directions to determine how many light strands you can connect.
• Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
• Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
• Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
• Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
• Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
• Ask smokers to smoke outside, and remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so children do not touch them.
• Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Moisten cigarette butts with water before discarding.
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they are likely to be serious when they do occur. On average, one out of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
Abiding by the following tips can help you prevent a Christmas tree fire, which could cause hundreds of dollars in property damage.
• Picking the tree: Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as a fire retardant.
• Placing the tree: Before placing the tree in its stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk. Make sure the tree isn’t blocking any exits, and is positioned at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. Water should be added to the tree stand daily.
• Lighting the tree: Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory, and never use lit candles to decorate the tree. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
• After Christmas: Get rid of real trees after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the home. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
In Kingsport, natural trees can be placed at the curb for pickup. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.