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Holiday Safety Tips

With the Holidays just around the corner, candles are a popular way to celebrate and decorate in our homes. Candles are also the cause of many residential structure fires.
Candles are generally safe products, but may become hazardous when used improperly or in an unsafe manner. National fire safety agencies report that the bulk of candle fire incidents in the United States are due to consumer inattention to basic fire safety or to the misuse of candles.

The Valley Center Fire Protection District recommends the following safety tips when
burning candles:

Candle Preparation
• Read and carefully follow all manufacturer instructions.
• Trim candlewicks to 1/4 inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks cause uneven burning and dripping.
• Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax. Be sure the
candleholder is placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface.

General Safety
• Always keep a burning candle within your sight. Extinguish all candles when you leave a
room or before going to sleep.
• Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
• Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.
• Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, smoking and excessive dripping. Drafts can also blow lightweight curtains or papers into the flame where they could catch fire. Ceiling fans can cause drafts.
• Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
• Do not burn a candle for longer than the manufacturer recommends.
• Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room.
• Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remain (1/2 inch if in a container). This will also help prevent possible heat damage to the counter/surface and prevent glass containers from cracking or breaking.
• Never touch or move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquid.
• Extinguish pillar candles if the wax pool approaches the outer edge.
• Candles should be placed at least three inches apart from one another. This is to be sure that they don't melt one another, or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.
• One of the safest ways to extinguish a candle is to use a candle snuffer, which helps prevent hot wax from spattering.


Christmas Tree Safety
A Christmas tree, even one treated to be flame-retardant, is capable of burning
explosively, spreading the fire throughout your home quickly. Taking proper care of
your Christmas tree, however, will help prevent this tragedy from happening to you.

Choose Your Tree Carefully!
• A live tree which can be planted after Christmas will be more likely to stay fresh throughout the season than a cut tree. Choose a healthy one and water it moderately while it is in the house.
• When choosing a cut tree, look for freshness; the needles should be difficult to pull from the branches and shouldn’t break when bent between your fingers.
• If purchasing an artificial tree, choose one that is labeled fire resistant.

Consider Where You are Placing Your Tree and Furniture!
• Position the tree away from fireplaces, heat registers, direct sunlight, and other sources of heat that can cause the tree to dry out prematurely or even ignite it.
• If rearranging furniture to make room for the tree, maintain clearance from sources of heat and maintaining safe exit ways and passageways.

Keep Your Cut Tree Fresh!
• Once home, spray the tree with water to remove dead needles and dust, then cut 2” off the base and immerse the cut end into water immediately.
• Place the tree in a sturdy stand, capable of holding a large amount of water.
• Check the water in the tree stand often. An average tree can consume a quart to a gallon of water every day.
• Do not allow the water level to drop below the base of the tree or pores will seal again, preventing water absorption. If pouring water in the basin is difficult, add ice cubes regularly.

Decorate the Tree Safely!
• Decorate the tree with UL approved miniature lights rather than the larger ones to prevent heat build up and lessen drying effects. NEVER use real candles on a tree.
• Inspect used lights carefully for frayed wires, broken sockets, or signs of wear and discard if damage is observed.
• Use only UL listed lights and other electrical items and limit to no more that 3 strands or items per outlet.
• Turn off or unplug Christmas tree and exterior lights before leaving the house or going to bed.

After Christmas:
• Remove the tree from the house promptly.
• Never burn a Christmas tree in the fireplace or woodstove.
• Recycle your Christmas tree.

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