Holiday safety

Kensington Fire-Rescue Encourages You to Practice Fire Safety during the Holidays

As we enter the holiday season, many people will engage in holiday festivities, shopping and sharing tidings of joy. Kensington Fire-Rescue would like to remind you to practice Fire Safety during the holidays.

• Holiday Tree Fire Hazards – Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases within minutes.
• Selecting a Tree for the Holiday – Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out and is a fire hazard.
• Caring for Your Tree – Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

It’s the holiday season and time to find just the right Christmas tree. Look for one that’s fresh and green. The needles should bend and not snap between your fingers. At home, find a cool spot for your tree, away from heater vents and the fireplace. A dry tree is a serious fire hazard, so water yours often. After the holidays, dispose of the tree safely at a recycling center or with your pick-up service. Artificial tress while less hazardous may still present a hazard, choose one that is flame retardant. A video showing how fast a Christmas tree fire can develop can be viewed at

Maintain Your Holiday Lights – Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do not overload electrical outlets or link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch. Do not leave holiday lights on unattended.

Use only non-flammable Decorations – All decorations should be non-flammable or flame retardant and placed away from heat vents. Never place wrapping paper in the fireplace, it can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

A Fire-Safe Holiday
Family and friends together is the real joy of the holiday season. Take a few moments to protect them from an unexpected tragedy. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home to make sure they’re working and replace them if they are 10 years old or older and be certain everyone in your family and those visiting over the holidays know and practice your home fire escape plan. Finally, as in every season, know when and how to call for help, 911 is your emergency number.

Candle Care
Candles are a traditional and beautiful part of the holiday season. They are also a direct source of fire in your home, so, if you do use candles be cautious with them. Use non-flammable holders and position candles a safe distance from your Christmas tree and other holiday decorations. Children are always fascinated by candles and are drawn to them, so place yours safely out of children’s reach.