FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Festive decorations, flickering lights and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this time of year into a devastating one. Electrical and heating fires are in the top 5 leading causes of home fires in Springfield. The good news is that most of these fires are preventable. The Springfield Fire Department recommends these tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday season:
- Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Inspect your holiday lights for worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections before putting them up. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. Turn off all lights before you go to bed or leave the house.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights to avoid damage to electrical cords.
- Do not overload your electrical outlets.
- When choosing a live tree make sure it has fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk for better water absorption.
- Christmas trees should be watered daily to prevent the tree from drying out and should be disposed of promptly after the holiday.
- Keep at least three feet of clear space between holiday decorations and Christmas trees any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Do not block exits with Christmas trees or decorations. These may be needed in case of emergency.
- December is the peak month for home candle fires. Consider using battery operated candles to reduce your fire risk. Should you choose to use candles, keep them at least twelve inches from combustible material, and never leave a burning candle unattended.
- If space heaters are used, plug directly into electrical outlet, and always maintain a clear space of at least three feet around the heater.
- Do not leave the kitchen while cooking.
- Test your smoke alarms! Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can escape quickly.
- Review your home fire escape plan with all members of your household.
Fire Chief David Pennington also wants to remind citizens of the importance of working smoke alarms.
“It is critical to your safety that you have working smoke alarms in your home. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area,” Pennington says.
The Fire Department provides free smoke alarms to Springfield residents. Contact the Fire Department at 417-874-2300 or [email protected] to request one.
Media inquiries are directed to the Springfield Fire Department media line at 417-874-2301.