Fire safety tips for the holidays, from South County Fire and Rescue

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The winter holidays are a common time for structure fires, and South County Fire and Rescue offers the following safety tips:

Candle safety

  • Consider using flameless, battery-operated candles.
  • Extinguish candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Keep lit candles away from curtains, decorations, a Christmas tree, paper and other items that can burn.
  • Use sturdy candleholders that do not tip and are made of materials that cannot burn. Make sure candleholders are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep lit candles away from pets and children.

Christmas trees

  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving or going to bed.
  • Place the tree at least three feet away from a heat source like a fireplace, heater or light.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Water the tree daily.
  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • After Christmas, get rid of your tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home, garage or placed outside near the home.

Fireplace safety

  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.
  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
  • Put ashes outside in a metal container with a lid, at least three feet from your home.
  • Have your chimney cleaned out and inspected each year by a professional.

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