With so many potential holiday hazards, don’t let fire be one

With so many potential holiday hazards, don’t let fire be one

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Jake Essman / The Arbiter

Christmas can be one of the best times of the year. People bust out lights, decorations, music and hopefully some treats to get in a festive mood, but sometimes too much attention is paid to decorating with not enough attention to detail and safety.

While lights and trees play center stage to Christmas, the Boise Fire Department also reminds residents those lovely, twinkling lights also result in roughly 240 home fires, a dozen deaths and up to 17 million dollars in damages every Christmas
season.

The Christmas tree itself plays a big role in fire safety and the Boise Fire Fighters Local 149 reminds everyone a dry tree can lead to a fire. A well-hydrated tree is less likely to pose a fire danger. A tree bought or chopped locally will be fresher than a tree brought in from out of state or from a different region of
the state.

To determine if a tree is fresh or not, check the needles by bending them, the needles should bend without breaking and when tugged should be hard to pull from the branches. Tap the tree on the ground, only a few needles should fall off. Another thing to look for is resin where the tree was cut at the base. Ask the seller to make a fresh cut at the base if possible to enable the tree to soak up more water.

After bringing the tree home, make sure it is watered daily, or more if necessary to keep it from drying out.

For students staying in the dorms over break, feel free to decorate your room; just do not use a real Christmas tree in the residence halls.

University Housing has barred the use of real trees in residence halls, but a housing representative did give the okay to small fake trees and Christmas lights. The housing rep. also cautioned against open flames and reiterated open flames, such as candles, are not permitted in the
residence halls.

Although there are no restrictions against candles in private residences, candles should never be used to decorate a Christmas tree due to the extreme fire hazard they would pose.

An additional hazard can be caused by overloading electrical circuits. All too often people will plug too many sets of lights into a single extension cord resulting in the potential for an electrical overload.

Three or fewer sets of lights can be plugged into a single cord and the cord itself should be placed along walls, but not under carpet. Although it may seem like common sense, follow the manufacturer’s directions. If the lights are marked for outdoor use, use them outdoors and vice versa.

Finally, although some students may prefer to let Christmas last forever in lieu of returning to classes, all good things must come to an end, including Christmas trees. Trees shouldn’t be kept for a period longer than two weeks. Trees shouldn’t be disposed of by the owner and should instead be taken to a recycling or
compost service.