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180th Fighter Wing Fire & Emergency Service Offer Holiday FIre & Safety Tips

Swanton, Ohio -- The winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together for food and celebration. The Holiday seasons can also have a greater fire risk. By following a few simple safety tips, you can ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

If you choose to have a live tree, pick the freshest one you can find and buy it as late as you can. Make sure the needles are green and don't fall off when you touch them. When you go to set up your tree make sure you cut an inch or two off the bottom of the trunk before placing it in the stand. The fresh cut will allow the water to be absorbed better. Check the water level of a live tree daily. A well-watered tree lessens the chance of an accidental fire. Keep the tree at least 3 feet from any heat source such as fire places, heaters, vents, candles, and lights.

When decorating with lights make sure the strands are in good working order with no loose bulb connections or broken cords. Always use lights that are UL (Underwriters Laboratories) or FM (Factory Mutual) approved. Use indoor lights indoors only and outdoor light outdoors. Always turn Christmas tree lights off when leaving your home or going to bed. One third of all home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

Once the holidays are over, remove the tree from your house. Place it outside away from any structures while you wait to dispose of it. Check your local community to see what recycling and disposal options are available. A dry tree will ignite with little heat and burn very rapidly.

Candles are more prevalent around the holidays. Never leave a room with a burning candle and always keep an eye on burning candles. Also watch what's above and around your candles. I came home from work one night to find a burning candle on the back of the toilet under a hand towel. Everyone was asleep and the towel was moments away from catching fire. Make sure candles are on a non-combustible surface and are they sitting stable. Keep candles out of the reach of little ones and don't forget about those pets, they are curious too.

You probably will be doing a lot of cooking around the holidays too. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop. Not only will you not burn your favorite dish, but you will lessen the chance of an accidental kitchen fire. Children are going to want to help in festivities. Use caution around the hot oven and stove. Don't lay utensils or hot pads on top of the stove top. Regardless if it's on or not, it is a bad habit to develop.
Deep fried turkeys are becoming more popular as holiday meals, but be careful to avoid spilling oil into the burner while moving and checking the turkey. Avoid over flowing the oil when placing the turkey in by properly measuring the oil beforehand. Ensure that you are doing all turkey deep frying outside, well away from any structures. And, never place a frozen turkey into hot oil.

By following the above tips you can keep your holiday joyous and fire safe. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact the 180th Fire & Emergency Services at 419-868-4116, and we will be happy to answer them.