Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
4100 Chain Bridge Rd, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-246-3801, TTY: 711 and Fax:703-385-1687
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
News Release 09-86
Date: November 30, 2009
The holiday season is a festive and joyous occasion. However, it's also a dangerous part of the year; over 400 lives are claimed, more than 1,600 injuries occur, and over $990 million in property damage is lost. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, taking simple, common-sense, life-saving steps will help ensure a safe and happy holiday. By taking some easy precautions, residents can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.
Lighting Safety Tips
- Look for Underwriters Laboratories label on all holiday light sets to ensure UL standards are met.
- Buy lighting sets according to indoor use, outdoor use, or both.
- Before attaching lights, check for fraying wires, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation. If defects are found, replace the entire set.
- To minimize fire and shock danger, make sure a bulb is in each socket. If a bulb burns out, leave it in and unplug the light set--then replace the bulb.
- Don't connect more light strings than the manufacturer recommends.
- Keep indoor extension cords and lights away from water.
- All outdoor cords, plugs, and sockets must be weatherproof.
Christmas Tree and Holiday Decorations Safety Tips
- Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heating vent.
- Do not put up your tree too early or leave it up for longer than about two weeks.
- Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
- Never put tree branches in a fireplace or wood burning stove.
- All decorations should be non-flammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heating vents.
- Never put wrapping decorations in a fireplace.
- If you are using an artificial tree, ensure it is flame retardant.
As a final precaution, make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, and ensure you have an escape plan, and practice it.
For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I William Moreland, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711. Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.