Don’t let fire ruin holidays


By Kasie Strickland - kstrickland@civitasmedia.com



Don’t do this: The easiest way to prevent holiday fires is to simply adhere to the manufacturer’s warnings. Just because the light strands come equipped with an extra set of sockets doesn’t mean to string up 20 strands of bulbs in a single outlet.


Courtesy photo

PICKENS COUNTY — As the holidays come around, decorations go up. Trees and houses are decked out in lights, inflatables are placed in yards and candles are lit in windows. And every year, at least a few families across the Upstate will lose their homes due to fire.

“We haven’t had any calls yet,” said Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack. “But we will. We get them every year — usually right around the holidays.”

According to Womack, the weeks just before and after Christmas are some of the worst for house fires.

“After Christmas is probably worse. The trees get dried out and they’re covered in strings of lights. Not a good combination,” he said.

The National Fire Protection Association agrees.

“Christmas trees are a traditional part of the Christmas holiday,” said Marty Ahrens, who drafted a report on holiday fire statistics published by the NFPA. “But they can also be a major source of fuel in a fire.”

His report estimates that from 2009-2013 the number of reported home structure fires in which Christmas trees were the item first ignited reached an average of 210 home structure fires per year, resulting in an annual average of seven deaths, 19 injuries, and almost $18 million in property damage.

On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported “regular” home fires.

The leading cause of Christmas tree fires, accounting for 30 percent, was electrical failures or malfunctions. In almost a quarter (24 percent) of the Christmas tree fires and two-thirds of deaths, a heat source such as a candle was placed too close to the tree.

The easiest way to prevent holiday fires is to simply adhere to the manufacturer’s warnings. Just because the light strands come equipped with an extra set of sockets doesn’t mean to string up 20 strands of bulbs in a single outlet.

Checking cords for fraying, ensuring that “outdoor” lights aren’t used indoors and not overloading extension cords is a pretty good place to start.

As far as Christmas trees go, keep live trees well watered and kept a safe distance from any source of heat. Don’t leave a lit tree unattended and remember to dispose of it in a timely fashion. And for Pete’s sake don’t decorate it with candles. This isn’t the Victorian ages.

Everyone knows that guy who still has their tree up in March. Don’t be that guy …

Don’t do this: The easiest way to prevent holiday fires is to simply adhere to the manufacturer’s warnings. Just because the light strands come equipped with an extra set of sockets doesn’t mean to string up 20 strands of bulbs in a single outlet.
http://pickenssentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_extension_cords.jpgDon’t do this: The easiest way to prevent holiday fires is to simply adhere to the manufacturer’s warnings. Just because the light strands come equipped with an extra set of sockets doesn’t mean to string up 20 strands of bulbs in a single outlet. Courtesy photo

By Kasie Strickland

kstrickland@civitasmedia.com

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.

comments powered by Disqus