Saturday, December 20, 2014

Emergency Tip: Holiday Fire Safety

With REAL CANDLES on our Christmas tree every year,
we have stepped up our fire safety plan!

Having a German mother, I've grow up with candles on our Christmas tree, plus German decorations that use candles and fire such as Pyramiden and Räuchermänner. We learned at an early age that candles are not something to take lightly, but can be very beautiful when you are careful.

I've now continued this tradition in my own home, and while it sounds scary at first, we are just as careful as my parents were, sometimes even more so.

Holiday Safety Tips for Everyone (not just the crazy ones with real candles on their tree!)

The Tree
  1. Buy a fresh tree if you can, cutting one down at a tree farm is the best. See this video comparing the flamabilty of the dry tree vs. a fresh one!
  2. Your tree should be cut at an angle again once you get it home and immediately placed in water.
  3. Place your tree away from sources of heat. (Such as candles!)
  4. Use only non-flammable decorations.
  5. Use only UL-approved lighting.
  6. Inspect your lights for frayed/damaged wires before decorating.
  7. Do not leave your tree lights on unattended.
  8. Keep your tree stand full of water at all times.
  9. Once you notice your tree drying out, be even more vigelant and discard as soon as possible.
DISCLAIMER - Don't Try This at Home: Yes, we do put real candles on our live Christmas tree every year. But the tree is freshly cut, it is a breed that is strong enough to hold the candles, the tree is not trimmed - so there are many branches that stick out - allowing candles to be placed without limbs above the flame, the candles are small and designed to fit into special metal clips, we only light the tree on special occasions with many adults watching the candles, and NEVER leave the tree alone once the candles are lit. 

Important: Tree fires get out of control amazingly fast - this YouTube video proves it - keep it watered and free of sources of ignition. If it does catch fire, don't be a hero - get you and your family out and call 911 from outside your home.

Battery-operated flameless candles can look &
smell like real candles.

  1. Candles add a festive mood to your holidays, but be very careful this time of year - wrapping paper and decorations can easily catch fire, depending on where your candles are placed.
  2. If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders, and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  3. Avoid leaving candles burning unattended. Even those in glass containers, such as "Yankee Candles", can be dangerous if something flammable falls on top of them.
      -  Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 37% of the associated deaths. 
  4. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles. Today's models can look, smell and feel like real candles.

I really hope you have a fun and safe holiday season - we're going to keep the fire extinguishers close and only light the few candles on our tree on special nights, with many adults focused on each candle!

For more information on holiday fire safety, please visit the National Fire Protection Association's Holiday Safety site.

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