The holiday season is an especially critical time for fire safety. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), heating and cooking are the leading causes of residential building fires. Heating fires occur more often in the winter months when the use of central heating systems, portable heaters, and fireplaces is most common. The numbers of cooking fires routinely start to increase around Thanksgiving and peak in December.
Johnson County encourage residents to use extra caution as they celebrate holiday season. Below are some tips for a safer holiday:
Trees: Select a fresh tree, sticky to the touch with green needles. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If needles fall off, the tree is already dry and a fire hazard. Don't place tree near a heating vent or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Keep the tree stand filled with water. Alternatively, consider using a flame-retardant artificial tree.
Lights: Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Don't overload electrical outlets and don't link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Don't leave lights unattended.
Decorations: All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
For more information about personal preparedness in the holiday season visit www.jocoem.org or www.jocoprepared.org.