Holiday tips from Glassy Mountain Fire Department

Published 2:46 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2009

With the holiday season and colder weather upon us, the Glassy Mountain Fire Department wants everyone to have a safe and happy holiday and so they are recommending the following safety tips:

Keep all holiday decorations three feet from any heat source

Check all your holiday decorations for bad wiring

Do not overload extension cords or outlets with holiday lights

Before leaving a room, going out of the house or retiring for the evening, check all candles to make sure they are out and the tree lights are off

If using a live tree, before putting it up, cut two or three inches off the bottom and trim up the sides.&bsp; Then place your tree in a tree holder that holds water and check daily to be sure the tree has water which will help keep your tree from drying out

Most importantly, check your smoke detector to be sure it is working.&bsp; If not, give your family a safe holiday season and replace the batteriesit may save their lives.

Most home fire fatalities take place between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping, says Bryan Riebe, Chief of Glassy Mountain Fire Service Area. If we make the extra effort to be aware of potential fire hazards around us, we can keep safe.

Working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire so it is important to maintain them. With a working smoke alarm, children and senior citizens who are most at risk, could get the extra seconds they need to get out safely.

Chief Riebe also recommends residents plan two ways out and practice escape routes with the entire family. Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries. In addition, families should have their chimneys for their fireplaces and wood stoves cleaned by a certified professional chimney sweep before using and make sure any portable or area heating equipment is installed properly, maintained and used as instructed. And never, never put hot ashes in a trash container or on your deck unless you are certain they are cold.

If families are looking for holiday gift ideas, consider giving smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and residential window escape ladders, Chief Riebe said. These are practical gifts and could save a life.

Tragically, fire can kill selectively. According to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, those most at risk are:

Children Approximately 1,000 children under the age of 20 die each year in home fires. Children under age five are at twice the risk of dying in a home fire. Eighty percent of fatal home fire victims who were children were killed in homes without working smoke alarms.

Seniors Adults over age 75 are three times more likely to die in home fires than the rest of the population; those over 85 are 4.5 times more likely to die in a home fire. Many seniors are unable to escape quickly.

For families who are unable to purchase a smoke alarm, the Glassy Mountain Fire Department has a limited number of free smoke alarms available.&bsp; For more information about smoke alarms and/or fire safety, contact the Glassy Mountain Fire Department at 864-895-4306.