As the familiar lyrics of the traditional The Twelve Days Of Christmas play in the background, consider the following 12 Tips for Christmas from the Reno Fire Department?s Division of Fire Prevention:
1. Make Sure your home is equipped with at least one working smoke detector on each level of your home. Have your family implement and practice an emergency home fire escape plan.
2. Ensure that your home heating appliances, such as the furnace, gas fireplaces, wood burning appliances, chimneys, etc., are all in good clean, working condition.
3. Carbon monoxide is a silent and deadly killer; know how to identify the symptoms and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
4. With the joyous season upon us again, use sound judgment when installing your Christmas lights. Make sure you only use lights approved by a testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Do not overload circuits and make sure all cords and outlets are in good condition.
5. When choosing a fresh Christmas tree, ensure that it does not have any loose needles or brown spots. Keep it as fresh as possible by re-cutting the base at an angle before placing it in the stand. Check the water level daily to ensure it its well watered. Fresh trees are highly combustible, especially when they are dry, so keep it away from any open flame or heat sources. If you use an artificial tree, ensure that it has had a flame-retardant treatment.
6. Gift wrapping paper and Christmas gift boxes are highly combustible. Make sure all such materials are at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles, portable heaters, lamps, wood burning appliances and heater vents. Wrapping paper is highly flammable and burns at extremely high temperatures because of the additives in the paper. All wrapping paper and boxes should be discarded in the garbage or recycles. Do not burn them in the fireplace or wood heating appliances.
7. Use candles with extreme care; never leave lighted candles unattended, especially with children present. Place candles in non-tip and noncombustible holders and ensure they are well away from the Christmas tree, Christmas decorations or other combustible materials such as draperies or curtains.
8. When cooking for the holiday season, practice kitchen fire safety with your family. Do not leave cooking food unattended, especially when cooking with oil or fat. If grease or oil ignites, remember to cover the container with a lid and turn the heat source off. You should have an ABC rated fire extinguisher available in your home. Report any fire immediately.
9. Careless smoking remains a serious holiday fire hazard. Ensure that all cigarettes and matches are completely extinguished before discarding. Place all butts and matches in a metal container or dampen with water before discarding. Before going to sleep, check all furniture and garbage for smoldering embers.
10. Dispose of fireplace ashes in a metal can with a tight fitting lid, and store the can outdoors, away from your home. Never discard fireplace ashes in cardboard boxes, plastic containers or plastic trash bags.
11. Outdoor Christmas lights are exactly for outdoors use only. Do not use them in your residence, especially on your Christmas tree or near any combustible materials. These lights generate too much heat for indoor use.
12. Prior to going out or going to sleep, make sure that you shut off all indoor electrical decorations. This will minimize the potential for fire to occur.
The men and women of the Reno Fire Department wish area residents a fire safe and joyous holiday season.