Logs burning in the fireplace and candles flickering on the mantle are all romantic images, but there are dangers inherent in these activities. Monrovia Fire Chief Brad Dover wanted to remind everyone to be especially careful this holiday season to keep it merry and bright.
Among the things he warned about are ensuring that all holiday decorations are flame resistant or flame retardant. He also called for keeping lit candles away from other things that can burn. Another “be-careful” was of worn out or broken cords on Christmas lights and to check loose bulb connections and to carefully read all the manufacturer’s instructions about the number of light strands to connect. Another suggestion that Dover passes along from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is to use clips not nails to hang light cords so the cords are not damaged.
Dover also suggested that smoke alarms be checked, whether or not you’ll be entertaining for the holidays. He also mentioned that it would not be a bad idea to advise your guests about home escape plans. Another good idea was to keep children and pets away from lit candles. If you have friends that smoke, ask them to do so outside and provide them with large deep ashtrays is always a safe plan.
The NFPA also provided some staggering statistics. Between 2013 and 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year and that these fires caused an average of three deaths, 15 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage annually. In a quarter of these fires some type of heat source such as a candle or equipment was too close to the tree. Just stop to think and be careful. The two peak days for such fires are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The chief wants everyone to have joyous and safe holidays. He is joined in that sentiment by Police Chief Alan Sanvictores. He reminded everyone to lock last minute purchases out of sight in a trunk rather than tempt a thief to ruin the season. He also encouraged being a good neighbor and reporting any suspicious activity as “porch pirates” are very busy helping themselves to your holiday purchases.
Remember also that firing into the air to celebrate is a singularly bad idea. The bullets will come down with the same velocity as they go up and usually not in a controlled manner. Just think before your act and be careful out there.