Stay safe this holiday season with these tips
Although holiday celebrations can put homes at risk for fire, residents can keep their homes safe by following these tips from the Sarasota County Fire Department.
According to the national statistics, more than half of December home decoration fires are started by candles. Sarasota County recommends using battery-operated flameless candles. For those who plan to use real candles, be sure to place them well away from anything that could catch on fire, don't leave them unattended and be sure to blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep. Also, never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
When cooking for holiday visitors, keep an eye on the stove. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. It's important to remember that children and pets should be kept three feet away from anything that can get hot.
Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure every member of the household knows how to use it properly.
Check smoke alarms to ensure they are in working order. Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays. Empty ashtrays often and pour water over the contents before dumping them. After a party, check cushions and furniture for smoldering cigarette butts.
If buying a real tree cut the trunk at an angle and install the tree in a large, deep stand, well away from fireplaces, exits and heat sources. Ensure the tree has a constant supply of water and check it daily. Make sure artificial trees and decorations are flame-retardant. Throw away sets of lights that have cracked or frayed cords, loose or damaged sockets, and unplug all decorative lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
When hanging lights outside do not staple or use nails, use clips instead. Also, check to see if the lights are rated for outdoor use. Use flame-retardant or noncombustible costumes and decorations. Supervise children and keep them away from matches, lighters and candles.
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.