December - Tailgate Tips: Holiday
Tailgate Tips: Holiday
The holiday season is approaching and this is a time for good cooking, family celebrations and renewing old friendships. It also means it is time for decorating and entertaining, but because of the season and the time of year, the risk of fires from heating equipment and other items are more prevalent.
FACTS TO CONSIDER RELATING TO HOLIDAYS
- 2002 – 240 Christmas tree fires happened in U. S. homes, resulting in 23 deaths, 12 injuries, and $11.4 million in direct property damages.
- 1999-2002 – An average of 310 home fires started from Christmas trees igniting. The results were an avg. of 14 deaths, 30 injuries and $15.7 million dollars in direct property damage.
- 2001 – An estimated 18,000 home fires started by candles were reported to public fire departments. The results were 190 deaths, 1,450 injuries, and estimated property damages of $265 million.
- 14% of the candle fires occurred in December- two times the monthly average.
- 1999-2001 – Candles caused an estimated annual average of 16, 300 home structure fires, resulting in 140 injuries and $289 million in direct property damage. 11% of the December candle fires started from decorations catching fire.
HOLIDAY DECORATING & LIGHTING SAFETY TIPS
- Use extreme caution with holiday decorations and when possible buy flame retardant, flame resistant or non-combustible materials.
- Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials. Do not use candles to decorate trees.
- Buy lights and other electrical decorations with an approved testing laboratory label. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance.
- Unplug lights before replacing bulbs or fuses.
- Don’t mount lights in any way that can damage the cord’s wire insulation. (Use clips instead of nails)
- Keep children and pets away light strings and electrical decorations.
- Turn off all lights and other electrical decorations anytime that you leave the house or go to bed. (We unplug them from the circuit)
HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING SAFETY TIPS
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires. When cooking for holiday company, keep an eye on the stove.
- If you allow smoking in the home, provide plenty of deep ashtrays and check them often for smoldering butts. Douse the ashtrays with water before emptying in the trash can.
- After a party, check under and between the cushions on chairs and sofas for smoldering ashes from a careless smoker and in trash cans.
- Keep matches and lighters high enough and out of reach of children.
- If smokers are present for a party or dinner, ask them to keep their materials on themselves and out of “harm’s way” from younger children.
- Pre-test smoke alarms and acquaint guests with escape routes.
- Artificial trees – look for the fire resistant label. This doesn’t mean that the tree won’t catch fire, but that it will resist burning and should be extinguished quickly.
- Live Trees – check for freshness (fresh trees are a radiant green), check the needles if they are pliable or brittle. The trunk of a fresh tree usually has resin dripping. Pick up the tree and drop it on the blunt of the trunk, if it is fresh the needles won’t drop.
- When placing the tree at home, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and open heat. Obviously, heat dries the tree out quickly. Keep the stand filled with water and the location should be out of the way of foot traffic and doorways.
I read this recipe for a solution to fireproof a live tree. According to what I read, it will work.
Fireproof Solution for Live Trees
~ 2 cups-karo syrup
~ 2 ounces Liquid Chlorine Bleach
~ 2 pinches Epson Salts
~ ½ teaspoon “Borax”
~ 1 teaspoon Chelated Iron (Garden Store)
- Using a saw, make a fresh cut to the bottom of the tree, cut level, about 1 inch off.
- Immediately after cutting the tree, mix the fireproof ingredients. Fill a two-gallon bucket with hot water within 1 inch of the top and add the ingredients sand mix well.
- Immediately stands the tree in the bucket of solution for 24 hours.
- Place your tree in the stand with a well where liquids can be poured. (Save the remainder of the liquid)
- After the tree is in the stand, fill the well or stand reservoir using a cup or small container.
- Everyday without exception, “top off” the reservoir with the solution from the two-gallon bucket.
I’m told that if you follow these directions, you will have a fireproof tree. There are some beneficial side effects with using this solution. Obviously, needles will stay intact much better and the pine fragrance will increase.
Christmas is a special time of year and it is a time that we all look forward to, no matter the age. All of us from 8 to 80 enjoy all the various festivities of visiting, cooking, entertaining and music at church cantatas and concerts. Hopefully, if we look at these tips and heed them closely, it will make our times in our home and those of our friends and relatives safer and more enjoyable for the upcoming season.
I hope that all of you have a safe, enjoyable and blessed Christmas season.
Practicing Good Safety Habits makes Holidays Enjoyable!
Excerpts: www.nfpa .com 9/29/2005
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.