SARASOTA COUNTY – Holiday celebrations can put homes at risk for fire. Residents can keep their homes safe for the holidays by following these safety tips from the Sarasota County Fire Department before, during and after the celebrations.
Consider using battery-operated flameless candles instead of real candles. These candles can look, smell and feel like real candles. If using real candles, place them in non-tip candle holders and well away from anything that could catch on fire. Don’t leave candles unattended, and blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep. Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
Use flame-retardant or noncombustible costumes and decorations. Supervise children and keep them away from matches, lighters and candles.
When cooking for holiday visitors, keep an eye on the range. Keep children and pets three feet away from anything that can get hot. According to the National Fire Protection Association cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries.
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 proper working order.
Provide smokers with large, deep, no-tip ashtrays. Empty ashtrays often, and pour water over the contents before dumping them. After a party, check cushions and furniture for smoldering cigarette butts.
Buy a fresh tree that does not have shedding needles. Cut the trunk at an angle and install the tree in a large, deep, no-tip 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 are flame-retardant. Throw away sets of lights that have cracked or frayed cords or 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.
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.