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Christmas Season Approaching

The Christmas decorations are for sale at Barryís, Christmas lights are appearing on homes and letís face it the flyers are inundated with advertising, this is all telling us that Christmas season is fast approaching. Christmas always brings about a number of concerns with respect to fire safety, one item that comes to mind is that this is the only time of the year that we bring dry dead trees in our homes and wrap them with electrical lights. Sorry to sound like Ebenezer Scrooge on this one folks but itís true. Natural Christmas trees are a real fire hazard, especially when they get dried out. If you doubt this in any way I would suggest that you check out www.youtube.com and search ďChristmas Tree FireĒ, feel free to choose any of the almost 2,000 videos you like, possibly even compare between videos. Christmas trees are extremely combustible and represent a significant fuel load. If you do choose to have a natural Christmas tree then special attention is required, first the tree must be removed from the home when it becomes dried out. There are no exceptions to this rule, a dried Christmas tree in a home is a disaster waiting to happen, the slightest spark could result in a fire that rolls across your ceiling in seconds. The best way to avoid a tree from drying out is to make sure there is always water in the base and more importantly, donít bring it into the house too early. Common sense dictates that a cut tree can not last more than two weeks in a home, even then there are many variables that can lead to the tree drying out quicker so once the needles start to fall then itís time for the tree to go out.


Another decoration that often makes me cringe are the natural pine table settings with candles set in the middle. If you do choose to have one of these, please donít light the candles. This leads to candles in general, in truth candles are responsible for more house fires each year than Christmas trees ever will be. According to Ontario Fire Marshal statistics; candles were the ignition source for 3% of all house fires in Ontario between the years 2003 and 2007. Now 3% doesnít sound like a big number, but this amounted to 1,204 fires in five years, also resulting in 170 injuries and 20 deaths. Candles must be used carefully and never left burning when the room is left empty.


Published Nov 25, 2009 - Russell Villager

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