The following was reprinted from the Michigan State Police December Community Newsletter:
While the holidays are a time for celebration and gathering together with family and friends, the Michigan State Police wants to remind residents that the holidays also pose heightened risks of fire.Contributing factors to the risk of fire include an increase in cooking, dry Christmas trees, the use of candles, electrical outlets that become overloaded, frayed electrical cords, unsafe holiday decorations and increased commotion in the house that might leave children unattended.
These tragedies can be avoided by adopting some basic fire safety behaviors. Below are holiday fire safety tips to follow:
- When purchasing a live Christmas tree, avoid those that are dry or losing needles. Set the tree in a large, tip-proof stand, away from heat sources and exits and water it daily. Additionally, keep presents away from hot tree lights.
- Always unplug decorative lights, both inside and outside, before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Choose flame-resistant, flame retardant or non-combustible materials for holiday decorations.
- When cooking, avoid having large crowds of people in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended. Keep the stove area clean to avoid grease fires.
- Have your chimney and furnace professionally inspected and cleaned. Don’t burn gift-wrappings in the fireplace, as doing so can cause chimney fires.
- Have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, especially outside of sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year.