129 RQW Safety Files: Holiday Safety

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Can you believe that Christmas is here again? With that magical day around the corner, I'm sure everyone is putting up trees, stringing lights and decorating their homes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you enjoy a safe holiday season with your family:

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires
Christmas Tree Fire Hazards
- Movie segments demonstrating how fast a live Christmas tree can become fully engulfed in flames. Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Selecting a Tree for the Holiday - Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree - Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree - Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.


Holiday Lights
Maintain Your Holiday Lights
- Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets - Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. DO NOT LEAVE HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON UNATTENDED!!


Holiday Decorations
Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
- All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.

Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace - It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.

Artificial Christmas Trees - If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

If you have comments and/or suggestions you would like to make about the 129 RQW Safety Files please contact MSgt Vincent Brouillard at vincent.brouilard@ang.af.mil.