Holiday Safety Tips - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/22/04

Holiday Safety Tips

You have three days left until Christmas. The tree's up, the decorations are hung, and there are some presents under the tree. Sounds great.

But just because everything is in place, doesn't mean it's safe. If you're not careful, that perfect scene could go up in flames. A broken Christmas light or candle can ignite a Christmas tree. In just 15 seconds, the tree, and everything around it, is on fire.

So if you didn't do it when you put up your decorations, take just a minute to look at the ones that are electric. "Consumers should look for a recognized symbol such as UL or ETL," advised Hal Stratton, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, referring to two organizations that certify product safety.

This is the assurance that the product is safe to use when used according to its directions.

And here's another tip. Just because you have your tree up, don't forget to keep it watered. A dried-out tree is a recipe for disaster.

Hugh Futrell with the Southside Fire Department told us, "You need to keep the trees watered so they can absorb the moisture so they don't get brittle and dry, because the dry needles burn much faster and much quicker."

If you have an artificial tree, check the label on the box and make sure it is flame retardant. This doesn't mean the tree won't catch fire, but it does mean it will take longer to ignite.

And this may seem obvious, but too many people let candles burn in the wrong places. Make sure they are away from anything that can burn, which includes draperies and decorations.

Something else to keep in mind. Make sure your tree is secure, especially if you have pets. Just look around the tree and imagine what it would hit if it tipped over. If there are any electrical items or candles in the vicinity, move them now just to be on the safe side.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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