Holiday safety tips

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Editor’s note: The Franklin County Department of Emergency Services offers these tips on making the season a safe one.

As the Holiday season approaches, Franklin County Department of Emergency Services (FCDES) wants to remind you to practice safety when decorating for the holiday. Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that nearly 13,000 people visit the emergency room each year with holiday decorating-related injuries that are preventable.

To help remember holiday safety NFPA came up with “TLC”:

Tree

• When you bring your Christmas tree home, cut one or two inches off the bottom and place the tree in water as soon as possible.

• Remember to keep your tree base filled with water at all times. Left un-watered over time, a tree's needles can dry out and catch fire more easily.

• Keep your tree a safe distance (at least three feet) from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other sources of heat.

• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

Lights

• Carefully inspect each electrical decoration before plugging it in. Cracked sockets, and frayed, bare or loose wires, can cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new, UL-LISTED decorations.

• Be sure to use light strings that bear the UL Mark -- the UL Mark on a product means that UL has tested samples of the product for risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards.

• Do not connect more than three midget light string sets together. Light strings with screw-in bulbs should have a maximum of 50 bulbs connected together.

• Turn off all electrical light strings and decorations in your home before leaving home or going to bed.

Candles

• Never leave a room where candles are lit. Always blow them out!

• Never place decorations near an open flame.

• Keep candles away from decorations, curtains, bedding, paper, furniture and other combustible materials.

• Keep candles out of the reach and path of children and pets to avoid the risk of having them accidentally tipped over.

Please check your alarms to make sure they work. Have a working smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death in a fire. Statistics show that working smoke alarms cut the chance of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. Installing both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a home fire by 80 percent.

For more information, a smoke detector or batteries for your smoke detector, contact your local fire department or Franklin County Department of Emergency Services at (717) 264-2813 or www.franklindes.org