Put a freeze on winter holiday fires

Firefighters offer safety tips

Staff report

SIDNEY — It’s fun to decorate for the winter holidays; however, decorations can increase your risk for a home fire, said Deputy Chief, Cameron Haller of the Sidney Department of Fire & Emergency Services. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.

According to facts about home holiday fires provided by the National Fire Protection Agency:

• One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. Connect no more than three strands of mini-lights.

• Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.

• A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires. Heat sources should be a minimum of 3 feet away.

• More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns.

• December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11 percent of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4 percent the rest of the year.

“We would like to take this opportunity to help everyone understand the importance of maintaining electric decorations and keeping high moisture content in live Christmas trees,” said Haller. “We don’t want the Grinch to visit any of our neighbors in Sidney this year.”

To watch a demonstration of a live Christmas tree on fire, follow this link, https://youtu.be/AZk4vIXCnc8 .

In addition to the recommendations above, working smoke detectors and a fire escape plan, that is developed and practiced, will provide the best chance of survival in the event of a fire in the home. Another key element is to sleep with your bedroom door in the closed and latched position. Smoke from an unfriendly fire is the by-product of fire that is the most deadly. A closed door will stop or slow the movement of smoke in your home. The closed door permits an individual to become alert in clean air and make decisions accordingly.

Haller also wants to remind residents that the Department of Fire & Emergency Services has a supply of free smoke detectors for low- and moderate-income households. Red Cross has a wonderful program to assist with the installation of smoke detectors; we can assist with making arrangements with them, he said. Simply stop by Fire Station 1 at 222 W. Poplar St. or call 937-498-2346 to find out if you qualify and pick up your free smoke detector.

Firefighters offer safety tips

Staff report