Christmas decorations and candles

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Take a time out for fire safety

By December 9, 2010

Candles add beauty to your holiday decorations but, fire officials warn, they could spark a dangerous fire if not properly extinguished or if placed too close to other decorations. Comstock image

CAMINO — Unit Chief Bill Holmes of the Amador-El Dorado-Sacramento-Alpine Unit of Ca Fire would like to remind everyone of some life saving fire safety tips as we enter the holiday season.

“Think about fire safety. This may sound obvious but with the hectic pace of the holidays, reminding ourselves to “think fire safety” can help avert disaster.  Every year we respond to fires that occur when someone has been distracted from the matter at hand. Leaving cooking food on a stove or in an oven and forgetting about it after you leave the kitchen is the leading cause of house fires. Forgetting to blow out lit candles before leaving a room or placing decorations or packages too close to a wood stove or other heat source also cause numerous house fires. In this high tech world we live in, we are connected 24/7 and are often preoccupied with several things at any given time.  Take a few minutes to review these common sense fire and life safety principles with friends and family. It could save your life and the lives of your loved ones.”

Tips to live by:

  • Make sure your smoke alarms are linked to one another and are in good working order. If your alarms go off, investigate to make sure you know the source of the smoke or fire and take appropriate action.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher, make certain you know how to use it. Think of the acronym P.A.S.S = Pull the locking pin out of the handle, Aim the nozzle/hose at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle of the extinguisher and Sweep back and forth until the fire is out. Do not hesitate to empty the extinguisher on the fire. ALWAYS call 9-1-1 and have fire department personnel check for any residual “hold over fires” (smoldering fires).
  • Consider using battery operated candles instead of traditional candles. They are safer, last longer and don’t spill melted wax all over your furniture.
  • Keep all flammable materials (such as curtains, blankets, trees, gifts, etc) a minimum of 3 feet away from all heating sources such as your wood burning stove, space heaters, etc.
  • Review what to do if your clothes catch on fire.  Stop (NEVER run). Drop (to your knees and lie on your stomach on the ground. Cover your face/mouth with your hands, close your eyes). Roll (back and forth until the fire is smothered out). Flush with plenty of clean, cold water and ALWAYS call 9-1-1 and have medical personnel assess your burn injuries.
  • Practice your home exit drill with your family and review and practice your exit drill with any visiting family and friends. Make sure everyone knows where your meeting place is and in the event of a house fire, remember to Crawl Low Under the Smoke filling your home. Never stop to grab personal items, get out of the house and stay out. Call 9-1-1 from outside the house, and let emergency services know if everyone has exited the house or if someone is still missing and presumed inside.

“Taking a few minutes of your time now can mean the difference between life and death. It is the simple things we do every day that can get us into trouble especially when we are distracted, tired and overwhelmed. Please help us make this a joyful holiday season” said Chief Holmes.

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Special to Village Life


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