The holidays present an increased risk of home fire–often involving cooking, Christmas trees, candles and holiday decorations. By taking some preventative steps and following simple rules of thumb, most home fires can be prevented during the holidays and beyond.
Keep candles 12 inches away from things that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed.
Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are place on uncluttered surfaces.
Never use lit candles to decorate a Christmas tree.
Never leave a child or pet in a room with a burning candle.
Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.
Select a fresh tree with needles that do not easily fall off when touched or break when gently bent. When you get it home, cut the trunk 2 inches from the base. Add water to the tree stand and make sure to water the tree daily. If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
Locate the tree at least three feet away from heat sources. Make sure not to block exits with the tree or rearranged furniture.
Never leave a lighted tree unattended or leave lights on for prolonged periods of time. Turn the lights off and turn the room heat down when leaving the house or going to sleep.
Again, if you have a fresh tree, check the water level in the stand daily and refill with water. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch on fire easily.
Remove the tree from the house as soon as possible after Christmas. Beginning December 26 through January, drop off your old tree at one of four locations: Veterans Memorial Park, Fox Hills Park, Culver West Park, or Syd Kronenthal Park.
Only purchase lights that have been tested by an independent testing laboratory (e.g., Underwriters Laboratories (UL)). Do not connect more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets. After inspecting the lights, place them on a fireproof surface and let them run for 15 minutes. Replace any lights that show signs of overheating.
Always turn off Christmas lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
If you’re simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
Create a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.
If you have a cooking fire, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately after you leave.
If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and that you have access to an exit.
Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
Culver City Fire Department
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