Christmas Time Safety Tips From Local 797
As the holiday season approaches, the Auburn Firefighters would like to remind citizens of some safety tips. We are here to provide services to our citizens, and our number one goal is to keep you informed.
Everyone enjoys the feeling that candles bring during the holiday season. Fire departments throughout the United States respond to a candle fire every 30 minutes. The fire department encourages people to use a flashlight and battery powered lanterns during power outages, as these devices are safer than an open flame.
We encourage people who do decide to use candles to practice safe habits and to pass down these habits to younger generations. The following are a few tips:
Candles should NEVER be left alone, so if you leave the room extinguish the candle in a safe manner
Keep candles in a candle holder or other non-flammable material to prevent the spread of hot wax
Place candles on a sturdy service with no flammable material around it (curtains, papers, blankets, table clothes, ext.)
Candles should be used with extreme caution and we do not recommend placing candles in areas where occupants may fall asleep i.e., bedrooms which constitute 1/3 of the total candle fire locations
All candles should have a minimum of a 12 inch radius of clearance from any other materials
Keep safety in mind when lighting a candle. Watch out for loose clothing and hair as they both can catch on fire. Also, take safety measures when placing hot lighters or matches down, such as running cool water over them or placing them on a non-flammable surface.
In decorating the outside of your home or building we want to remind people to use proper extension cords and not to overload these circuits. When decorating outside with Christmas lights, follow the manufacturer directions. Having to many light sets connected together can cause the system to short and start a fire. Also, make sure the lights are rated for outdoor use. Keep your home address visible and keep doors and walkways easily accessible. It is a good practice to turn off all electrical decorations when you are not home or when you are going to bed. These decorations can be hazardous and should be monitored when in use.
The proper use of extension cords is another important practice to remember during this holiday season. The type of use for the extension cord should determine the kind and length you will need. Some extension cords are not made for the outdoors. Make sure that you get the appropriate plug ends on the extension cord to match what you are going to plug into it. Never force the ends together or alter the ends so that they fit, as this could create a spark. Extension cords are not designed to be used for permanent appliances or for long durations. If you plan on using an extension cord for this reason, have a licensed electrician come install an outlet that can be used for year round purposes.
In Maine, as Christmas approaches that only means one thing, temperatures are dropping. We want to remind people to use heating devices appropriately. Always follow the manufacturer directions. Keep propane and gas heaters outside as they produce carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas, and can be fatal if you are exposed to the gas for an extended period of time. Never use your oven as a heating source. Your oven will continue to heat until it reaches the desired temperature that was set. With the door being left open, the oven will continue to run. This may create the walls, cabinets, and floor around the oven to become hot and ignite. Also have if you have a chimeny make sure that you get it cleaned at least once a year. During the cleaning process you can also have the company inspect the chimney to make sure the chimney is in good working order. Also never burn wrapping paper or any other paper products in a fireplace or other stove heating source. Don't forget to make sure the area around the heating source is clear of all decorations or possible combustible material.
Finally we ask people to use caution when placing and lighting Christmas tree. Remember that the tree will dry out and can ignite if not properly watered so make sure to get a fresh green tree and continue watering it. Use caution when adding lights to the tree as the lights can become hot if used for long durations and could ignite the tree. When using lights check to make sure the lights and wires are in good shape with no exposed wiring or missing bulbs. Placing the tree is just as important, so keep it away from doors and windows to allow for a clear means of egress in case of an emergency. Also keep the tree away from a stove or fireplace as the heat being produced will dry the tree out faster.
The Auburn Firefighters want to remind the citizens of Auburn to use safe lifestyle practices so that you can enjoy your family and friends this holiday season. As always, we hope you have a great holiday season and if you have any additional questions, please stop by one of the stations to talk to your firefighters.