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P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778


 News Release
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For immediate release - Nov. 29, 2004

Lake County Fire Rescue issues holiday safety tips

TAVARES — As citizens begin holiday decorating, the Lake County Fire Rescue Division is reminding the public to take the necessary precautions to celebrate a safe and happy holidays.

Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause more than $930 million in damage, according to the United States Fire Administration. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce hazardous fire conditions caused by some of the traditional holiday decorations.

From unattended candles to dried-out holiday trees, there are several potential fire hazards present during the holiday season, but by planning ahead Lake County citizens can make this December a hazard-free and fun celebration.

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

  • When selecting a tree for the holidays, make sure it is fresh. Needles on fresh trees should be hard to pull off branches. Needles should not easily snap if the tree has been freshly cut. The bottom of the trunk should be sticky to the touch. Identify old trees by bouncing the trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree is probably dried out and is a fire hazard.
  • When returning home with a tree, cut two to three inches off the bottom of a fresh tree and put the tree in water immediately. This prevents the sap from forming over the cut and allows the tree to absorb the water. Use a sturdy tree stand and fill it daily with water.
  • Do not place a tree near a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited. Also, do not place the tree so it blocks an exit.
  • When decorating, always make sure holiday lights are being used safely. Some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use the decorating lights.
  • Previously used holiday lights should be inspected each year before putting them up for frayed wires, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear. Do not mount lights in any way that can damage the cord's wire insulation such as nail or tacks.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
  • Do not leave holiday lights or burning candles unattended.
  • All holiday decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat sources. When purchasing artificial holiday trees, be sure it is labeled flame retardant.
  • Avoid using lit candles. When candles are used, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never put lit candles on a tree or go near a holiday tree with an open flame.

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Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Communications Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445
cpatton@co.lake.fl.us

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