Williston Fire Department

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Holiday Fire Safety
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By Member Mike Fronimos
December 18, 2017

Williston: As the Holiday Season approaches the Williston Fire Department would like to offer some Fire and Life Safety tips to help make the community safer. This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week was “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out”. It is even more important to practice this during the Holiday Season when you have guests staying at your home or you travel to stay with others.

Residential fires increase this time of year due to the amount of Christmas trees, candles, holiday decorations and fireplaces in use. By providing useful information for our community, we aim to lessen the chances of fires this holiday season in Williston, Williams County and neighboring communities.

Over the past several decades, deaths from home structure fires in the United States have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,646 in 2015, according to Injury Facts 2017®. But even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. In 2015, 232 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.

Working smoke alarms, which cut the chances of dying in a house fire in half, are a family's first indication of a fire. But once that alarm sounds a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape, according to the National Fire Protection Association. That's why it's so important to have an escape plan and practice it using different ways out of the house. The NFPA offers more educational resources on fire safety at www.nfpa.org.

A home fire is reported every 86 seconds. Despite this threat, families rarely practice home fire drills, and nearly half of parents report their children do not know what to do in the event of a fire.

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries, followed by heating equipment, according to NFPA. Other causes include smoking, electrical problems, children playing with fire and candles.
FACT SHEETS

Fire Safety Tips for Your Christmas tree

Don’t let Christmas ever heat up too much — with fire that is. Did you know that Christmas trees alone result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage? More importantly, these fires present real risk towards family and friends. When showcasing a live tree in your home, the combination of tree dryness, electrical malfunction with lights and poorly located heating sources can make for a deadly combination.

But if your holiday is just not complete without a live tree, follow these safety precautions to keep threats at bay:
• Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
• Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
• Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.
• Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
• Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
• Bedtime means lights off! ­ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.

When your tree begins to drop its needles, it’s time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year. So this year, follow our guidelines to avoid being another statistic in the National Fire Protection Association or United States Fire Administration report during the upcoming holiday season.

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