|Hot tip: Keep Christmas trees away from fireplaces to help avoid accidents.|
Since many of us are in holiday preparation mode, the Fermilab Fire Department would like to remind you to add a few more things to your already growing seasonal list of things to do and remember.
- Space heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Make sure that any unit you have carries a UL approval tag and is equipped with a tip-over switch. Avoid using space heaters in a bathroom or anywhere where it can come in contact with water.
- Never use your stove top or oven as a heating device. They are not designed to heat surrounding areas, and they produce carbon monoxide, which can be harmful if not deadly to humans and pets.
- When cooking, stay in the kitchen. Never leave a stove, fryer or grill unattended, even for a short time. If you must leave the area, turn them off.
- Be very careful when discarding ashes from a fireplace, as ashes can stay hot for a very long time. Never leave ashes inside the home or even in a close proximity to the house outside. Always place them in a metal container, well away from the home.
- Keep your fireplace clean. Have it professionally inspected once a year, and keep the area in front of the fireplace clear of any flammable items.
- If you have an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant. If you have a real tree in your home, make sure it is one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Always cut at least one to two inches from the base of the tree before placing it in the stand, and add water daily.
- Check all lights prior to placing them on the tree and discard any that have frayed or worn wires or loose bulbs. Always turn tree lights off before leaving the home or going to bed.
- Keep the tree well away from any heat source such as fireplaces, radiators, heat vents, candles or light fixtures.
- Get rid of the tree when the needles begin to drop. Dried out trees should never be left inside the home, garage or immediately outside to the house.
- Check those smoke alarms. This is a great time to change the batteries and check to make sure that they are all working properly.
Have a happy and safe holiday season!
—Fire Chief Chuck Kuhn and the Fermilab Fire Department