December is here, and the joyous holidays of Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza are coming up soon. Most of those celebrations involve the combination of candles and combustible decorations-- like that extra dry Christmas tree you found the other night on Avenue B. Okay-- it was more of a discarded houseplant, but it's sitting in your living room now, surrounded by four lit menorahs and a slightly frayed set of Christmas lights. Maybe now is the time to refresh your memory on the FDNY's holiday safety tips:
Make sure you have a working smoke detector on every level of your home.
Choose a freshly cut tree. LIVE TREES NEED WATER! Check and refill often.
Cut a few inches off the trunk before placing in water.
When your tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
Keep your tree away from heat sources, sparks or flames.
Do not leave Christmas tree lights on while unattended.
Avoid accidents by using wire or cord to secure your tree to the wall or ceiling (this will prevent it from toppling over by small children or pets).
Check all light sets prior to use. Do not use damaged light sets or extension cords.
Avoid overloading the connections.
Use only Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved lights on your tree, and NO CANDLES.
Promptly remove all discarded packages and wrappings from the home.
Never burn wrappings in the fireplace or wood stove.
Use only non-combustible decorations
If you use candles, make sure they are in stable holders on a flat stable surface and create a 1-foot circle of safety surrounding them
NEVER leave the house with candles burning
NEVER leave children or pets unattended with a lit candle (the candle can easily be knocked over)
NEVER use candles near combustible materials such as curtains, drapes, bedding and or cabinets.
Wiser words were never spoken. Unless you count the FDNY's other top ten list of fire-avoidance tips! [Related: FDNY Christmas tree ornaments are on sale at their official store. And while we were browsing their site, we also spotted this very interesting PDF of 2004 fire statistics-- we were surprised there were only five 5-alarm fires last year.]