Faribault Fire Chief Dusty Dienst stops by KDHL this morning at 9:30 a.m. for our AM Minnesota program to discuss safety during the holidays.  Christmas and New Year's are times for families and friends to get together typically in homes and this also means a greater risk for fire.

Dienst wants all of us to enjoy the holidays and will have a few simple tips to help keep your loved ones safe.  Much of this information is from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • 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 manufacturer's instructions for 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.

If you are doing 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.

I'm sure the Faribault Fire Chief will have some words of wisdom concerning Christmas Tree safety also:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches 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 every day.
  • 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.

Before heading to bed make sure to blow out lit candles, turn off all ligth strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Did you know more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles?

Did you know that more than two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source?