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Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 09-86
Date: November 30, 2009

Holiday Safety - Important Tips to Follow

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 Randal Bittinger,
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711.
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
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.
4100 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

Last Modified: Monday, August 29, 2011

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