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Celebrating 150 Years in Garrett County, Maryland: 1872-2022

Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Last Updated on Dec 19, 2022 at 4:50pm | Fire Marshal
Please take a moment to review these holiday safety tips from Garrett County Fire Marshal Chris Cieslarczyk:
 

CHRISTMAS TREE SAFETY

As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly
 
PICKING THE TREE
• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
 
PLACING THE TREE
• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
 
LIGHTING THE TREE
• Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
 
AFTER CHRISTMAS
• Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
• Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
 
 
 
 

 

Winter Holiday Safety

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.
 
HOLIDAY DECORATING
• Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.
• Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
• Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
• Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
• Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
 
HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING
• Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
• Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
• Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
• Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
• Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.
 
BEFORE HEADING OUT OR GOING TO BED
• Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
• Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.