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Security Measure

Put the freeze on winter fires

Put the freeze on winter fires
Posted on 12/03/2018

The Lenexa Fire Department reminds everyone that fire prevention is important year round. During the winter months, however, it is imperative to make fire safety a priority in order to keep your family safe.

Christmas Trees

  • When choosing a live Christmas tree, only buy one with fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched.

  • Before placing a real tree in the stand, cut two inches from the base of the trunk.

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is at least three feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, heaters and candles.

  • Add water to the tree stand daily. Christmas trees become increasingly combustible as they dry out in your home. This process is accelerated when not watered every day. A dry tree can catch fire and burn faster than newspaper. This video by the National Institute of Standards and Technology shows how quickly a dried out Christmas tree will burn compared to a well-watered tree.

  • Dispose of your live Christmas tree soon after the holidays. Four out of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December or January. The City of Lenexa offers two convenient options to dispose of live Christmas trees.

Candles and Decorations

  • Nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that could catch on fire.

  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles. If you do use lit candles, make they are in stable holders, place them where they cannot be knocked over easily and never leave them unattended.

  • Inspect electrical decorations and lights each year before you put them up. Throw away light strands with frayed, pinched or exposed wires.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is often called the invisible killer because it is an odorless, colorless gas. Each year, 2,000 people die and 40,000 other are treated for CO poisoning. Because it is created as a result of incomplete burning of fuels, carbon monoxide incidents are more common during winter months.

  • CO detectors should be installed on every level of your home. Test CO detectors once a month and verify that they can be heard from every sleeping area.

  • Heating systems should be inspected and serviced before each season.

  • Keep your fireplace flue open for adequate ventilation until embers are completely burned out. Examine chimneys and vents for blockages, cracks, leaks, discolored bricks and improper connections.

  • Never use unvented fuel-burning appliances such as heaters and lanterns in enclosed areas.

  • Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning, which include fatigue, persistent/throbbing headache, pale skin, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Regardless of the season, the presence of working smoke alarms in your home is the best way to ensure your family’s safety and minimize property loss due to fire. If you are looking for gift ideas this holiday season, give the gift of life – send your friends a smoke alarm!

Published Nov. 25, 2018