Red Cross urges fire safety for the holidays

Red Cross urges fire safety for the holidays


The Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross reminds families to use common safety sense throughout the season. The American Red Cross holiday safety tips pinpoint ways to avoid potential dangers associated with winter weather and the holiday season.

Beware of holiday candles: Be sure to keep candles away from decorations and other flammable materials. Never leave children unattended in a room with lit candles, and always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters, out of the reach of children. Never use candles to decorate a Christmas tree.

Christmas tree: Secure the Christmas tree in a sturdy stand. Place the tree away from the heat sources and exits. If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.

Decoration lights: When decorating with lights, be sure to not overload electrical outlets. For outside decorations, use only those lights labeled for outdoor use.

Fireplaces: Have your chimney and fireplace inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season, and cleaned if necessary. Never use flammable liquids in a fireplace.

Portable and space heaters: Use extreme caution when using portable or space heaters. Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, etc. Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.

Cook with care: When cooking, do not wear loose-fitting clothes. Always turn pot handles in. Turn off the stove after every use. Don’t use appliances with frayed or cracked wires.

Fire-related deaths and injuries could be avoided if families know and follow the basic fire safety procedures. Here are some tips on what you can do to prepare for such an emergency:

• Smoke detectors save lives. Install smoke detectors outside each and every sleeping area and on each level of your home.

• Test your smoke detectors once a month. When necessary, replace batteries immediately. Change the batteries every six months.

• Have a working fire extinguisher and know how to use it.

• Keep matches and lighters away from children.

• Check your home for fire hazards.

• Learn E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In The Home) and practice it.

• Choose a family meeting place outside of your home where the entire family can meet in case there is a fire in your home.

• Once you are out, stay out!

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