If handled improperly, Christmas trees and other holiday decorations can pose a fire hazard. With that in mind, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King reminds Georgians to take certain precautions when decorating their homes this holiday season.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments nationwide respond to 160 home fires each year that start with Christmas trees. In addition, fire departments also responded to an average of 790 home fires that start with Christmas decorations other than trees.
These fires cause an annual average of one death, 26 fire-related injuries and $13 million in property damage.
In recognition of these risks, King asks Georgians to follow holiday fire safety tips for keeping your family and home out of harm’s way this holiday season.
Make sure to water live trees daily. Dry trees, as demonstrated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, can become completely engulfed in flames in less than one minute.
In addition, people are asked to keep their tree at least three feet from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, candles or heat vents. One in five tree fires could be traced to a heat source that was too close to the tree.
It is suggested to check Christmas lights boxes to see if they have the label of a recognized testing laboratory and to verify whether they are indoor or outdoor lights.
Also, all decorations must be turned off at bedtime and when people leave their home, and all lights and decorations should be inspected for cracks, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires. All electrical lights and devices should be unplugged before conducting any major or minor repairs.
Also, lit candles should be kept away from Christmas trees, decorations and other items that can burn.