EASTON, Conn. It's the season to deck the halls, light the Christmas tree and hang the stockings. But it's also a time when Eastonites need to take precautions to prevent house fires, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Lucy Crossman.
This time of year we really ask people to pay attention and use common sense when it comes to decorating the home. It is so easy to become distracted this time of year, and we just want people to be aware of the dangers out there, Crossman said.
She provided this list of things residents can do inside to ensure a safe holiday:
Christmas trees: Keep Christmas trees in constant water from the moment you take them home, Crossman said. Trees should never be placed near any heating sources, such as a fireplace, heating units or wood stoves, because they will dry out the tree faster, which could increase the chances of a fire.
The lights on the trees should never be left on for prolonged periods of time. Always turn the tree lights off when you leave home or when you go to bed. If any of the lights on the tree begin to flicker or blink, replace them.
Eastonites should never place candles on the tree for decorations. Crossman said an Easton family put sparklers on the tree for the holidays a few years ago, and it resulted in major fire damage throughout the home. I know this is common sense, but people do need to be reminded, she said.
Interior decorations: Candles need to be used very carefully and very sparingly inside the home. I cannot stress that enough, Crossman said. Easton residents should never leave a candle unattended in the home, and candles should never be placed near a flammable source. Candles are easy to forget about, so when you leave a room, make sure you blow out the candles. This is a big source of house fires, she said.
Never place decorations in front of the fireplace, always hang stockings or garland to the side the fireplace, away from direct heat.
Cooking: While everyone enjoys big holiday meals during this time of year, Crossman said, stoves or ovens should never be left unattended. I know that there is a lot of stresses, and we are all very busy around this time. But you should never, never leave the house while something is cooking. Kitchen appliances, left on, in unattended homes are main sources of fire in Easton, Crossman said.
Residents can find more holiday fire prevention tips here from the National Fire Prevention Association.
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