The winter holiday season should be a joyous time of the year, however during this season, fires and injuries associated with holiday decorating are much more prevalent. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they are more likely to be serious.
On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 reported home structure fires.
The KMC Fire Emergency Services, Fire Prevention Office offers the following safety tips for Christmas trees to help you and your family stay safe this holiday season:
• Select the freshest looking tree available. Make a fresh cut across the tree’s base and immediately place in water.
• Check the water level daily and add water if needed.
• Check all Christmas tree lights, other electric decorations and electrical appliances for wear such as frayed cords. Do not use lights, decorations or appliances with worn electrical cords. Only use UL, VDE, ENEC or CE approved electrical decorations and extension cords.
• Place the Christmas tree well away from heat registers, space heaters, fireplaces, televisions, computer monitors and other heat sources.
• Place the Christmas tree clear of doors to keep the emergency escape route clear of trees, packages, and furniture.
• Place the Christmas tree in the trash as soon as possible after Christmas, especially if the needles start to dry out.
• If leaving for the holidays, it’s best to take down your tree and dispose of it before leaving.
• Do not leave holiday lights on unattended.
• Use only non-flammable decorations. All decorations should be flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
• Artificial Christmas trees — if you are using a metallic or artificial tree be sure it is flame retardant.
• Never put lit candles on a tree. Do not decorate or even go near a Christmas tree with an open flame — candles, lighters or matches.
• Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not link more than three light strands (unless the directions indicate it is safe). Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires — they should not be warm to the touch.
• Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace. It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
• Ramstein Air Base Instruction (RABI) 32-2002, Chapter 9 outlines the policies, practices, and procedures that applies to all personnel and units assigned in the KMC that plan to decorate their homes and work areas for the holiday season.
Finally, keep your family safe by planning and practicing your fire escape plan and always test your smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries semiannually.
Contact your KMC Fire Prevention Office at 480-5940 or 06371-47-5940 for assistance or if you have any questions about fire safety.
From all of us here at your KMC Fire Department, we hope that you have a safe and joy filled holiday season.