SHREWSBURY– As residents prepare for the holiday season, Chief Jim Vuona and the Shrewsbury Fire Department wish to remind the community of important fire prevention tips.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 44% of holiday home fires start when decorations are placed too close to a heat source, like a candle.
“We wish all of our residents a safe and happy holiday season and encourage everyone to continue safe fire practices during the holidays,” Chief Vuona said. “Decorations are the leading cause of home fires during the holidays so make sure to keep decorations away from heat sources when putting them up and try to buy decorations that are flame resistant.”
The Shrewsbury Fire Department wishes to share the following holiday fire safety tips from the NFPA:
Christmas Tree Safety
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles. The needles should not fall off when touched.
- Cut two inches off of the bottom of the trunk.
- Place the tree a minimum of three feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents and lights.
- Do not place the tree in an area where it may be blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand daily.
- Check whether your string lights are intended for indoor use and use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Check your holiday lights to make sure they are not worn and do not have broken cords or loose bulb connections. Review the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
- Never decorate a tree with lit candles.
- Always turn off the lights on your tree before going to bed or leaving home.
- Dispose of your tree after Christmas or when it becomes dry. Dried out trees are a fire hazard. Do not keep a tree that has become dried out in your home or garage, or lean it up outside against your home.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles. Consider using battery operated candles around children.
- Place candles in a sturdy candle holder and on a surface that is also sturdy and uncluttered.
- Place candles a minimum of one foot away from anything flammable.
- When lighting a candle, take care to keep your hair and loose clothing away from the flame.
- Do not burn a candle all the way down. Before it gets too close to the holder or container, put it out.
- Never use candles if a member of your household uses oxygen.
- Matches and lighters should be stored in a locked cabinet.
- An adult should supervise any time candles are being used.
- Do not pass handheld candles from one person to another.
- Do not place lit candles in windows where a curtain or blind could catch fire.
- Blow out candles before you leave a room or go to sleep.
- Avoid using candles in areas where people may fall asleep, such as bedrooms.
- Residents are reminded to test their smoke alarms monthly.
General Holiday Decoration Safety Tips
- Seek out holiday decorations that are flame resistant.
- Be careful about the placement of decorations, and be sure to keep them away from lit candles and other heat sources.
- When using string lights outside, make sure they are designed to be used outdoors. Some string lights are designed for indoor use only.
- Hang lights using clips, not nails, so that the cords do not get damaged.
- Do not place decorations in the way of windows and doors.
- Stay in the kitchen anytime you are cooking on the stovetop.
- Before going to sleep or leaving your home, turn off all light strings and decorations.
For any other questions on cold weather safety please visit NFPA.org or contact the Shrewsbury Fire Department at 508-841-8522.