Keep the appropriate fire safety tips handy while preparing for the holiday season this year. Agent Tico Brown of Country Financial and the Georgia Arson Control Board urge residents of Liberty County to keep safety in mind when decorating their homes for the holidays. Brown offers the following tips:
• When purchasing a tree, check the tree for freshness. A dry tree is highly flammable. Use this test: hold a branch about 6 inches from the tip and pull your hand toward the tip, allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. If the tree is fresh, very few green needles will come off. Also, lift the tree off the ground and tap the trunk on the ground.
• Before placing the tree in a stand designed not to tip over, cut about 6 inches off the trunk and soak the base in a bucket of water overnight.
• The tree stand should be designed to hold plenty of water and should be checked daily.
• Do not place the tree or natural garland near a fireplace, furnace vents, television or other heat sources.
• Consider having a live tree with a root ball that can be replanted after the holidays. A live tree is less flammable than a cut tree, but still requires watering.
• Buy lights labeled by a recognized testing laboratory and check annually for frayed or damaged cords. On Christmas trees, use small lights that stay cool to the touch or LED lights, which also save energy.
• For outside decorations, use only outdoor lights. Never use indoor lights outside.
• Don’t overload electrical outlets with multiple plug adaptors or power taps. Use caution with extension cords; make sure they’re placed where they won’t trip anyone. Avoid running extension cords under carpets or rugs.
• Make sure candles are a safe distance from the tree, curtains, furniture and other flammable objects. Use large-base candles or protect candles in a globe. Don’t leave candles unattended. Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
The Georgia Arson Control Program Inc. was formed in January 1979 by property and casualty insurers writing business in Georgia. GAC, the Georgia Department of Insurance and Safety Fire and state and local law enforcement agencies established an arson hotline, 1-800-282-5804. A fund was initiated from which monetary rewards are given to individuals who come forward with information that results in the arrest and conviction of arsonists.