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