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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Ocala firefighters offer tips for preventing fires this holiday season

The holiday season has arrived, and Ocala Fire Rescue is offering fire prevention tips to ensure that residents remain safe while decorating their homes.

While festive lights, garland, and Christmas trees help contribute to the joyous atmosphere, they also pose a potential fire hazard if proper precautions are not taken.

To help ensure a safe and happy holiday season, Ocala Fire Rescue recommends that residents follow these fire prevention tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Choose an artificial tree – If opting for an artificial Christmas tree, select one that is labeled as fire-resistant. This design feature helps to minimize the risk of fire.
  • Care for a live tree – If you opt for a live tree, select a fresh one with vibrant green needles that do not fall off easily when touched. Keep the tree hydrated by watering it daily to prevent it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
  • Keep the tree away from heat sources – When positioning the tree, ensure it is at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, and heating vents. This will minimize the risk of the tree catching fire.
  • Check decorative lights – Before using them, inspect decorative lights to ensure they are in good condition without any broken bulbs or frayed wires. Faulty lights can cause short circuits and potentially ignite a fire.
  • Use outdoor-rated lights for exterior decorations – If decorating the exterior of your home, use lights specifically designed for outdoor use. These lights are built to withstand the elements and are less likely to cause a fire hazard.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets – Do not overload electrical outlets with too many lights and decorations. This can lead to overheating and electrical malfunctions, which increase the risk of a fire.
  • Never leave candles unattended – Candles create a cozy atmosphere, but they also pose a significant fire risk. Always extinguish candles before leaving a room or going to bed. Consider using flameless candles as a safer alternative.

“By following these fire prevention tips, you can create a festive and safe holiday environment for your family and guests. Remember, it only takes a moment for a fire to start, but with a little caution and mindfulness, you can ensure a joyful and fire-free holiday season,” states Ocala Fire Rescue.

For more information on fire safety during the holiday season, or to view additional safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website.