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Firefighters Share Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

Mon, 12/05/2022 - 10:35
Carissa Katz

The Firefighters Association of the State of New York wants New Yorkers to hear "sleigh bells jingling, not fire alarms ringing" this holiday season, and so it has published a list of safety tips for holiday revelry at home.

Chief among the organization's safety tips are not leaving candles unattended and keeping trees away from heat sources such as candles, radiators, fireplaces, lights, and vents. Residents should pay attention to indoor and outdoor requirements for decorative lights, make sure they are hung with clips rather than nails to keep cords intact, replace broken or loose bulbs, and turn the lights off when leaving the home. Other kinds of decorations should ideally be flame retardant or resistant.

When it comes specifically to live Christmas trees, the organization recommends regularly keeping them fresh with water. "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."

According to the National Fire Protection Association, each year across the U.S. there are an average of 160 fires caused by live Christmas trees and 7,900 caused by candles. Of all the states, New York has the second-highest number of fire-related fatalities in the nation, with 126 deaths.

“The holidays bring cheer, love, and joy to New Yorkers each year,” Edward Tase Jr., president of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, it historically also brings an increase in home fires. Dry trees, unattended cooking, and forgotten candles can all lead to tragedy. We want all New Yorkers to enjoy a safe and accident-free holiday.”

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