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Fire and Rescue
Safety and Holiday Decorations
Christmas trees and decorations add to the holiday spirit, yet, pose the risk of fire and injury to many, especially children.
Holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly, lilies and daffodils may enliven a room but they are poisonous to humans and pets.  When displaying these types of plants, place them in locations that can be admired from a distance by all, yet, unattainable to children and pets. 
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), during 2007 – 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 230 home fires; the origin of these fires were Christmas trees that resulted in an annual average of 6 deaths, 22 injuries and over $18.3 million in property damage.  When comparing Christmas tree fires to other reported home fires:
  • Christmas tree fires
o   1 out of every 40 home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death  (Click to view video)
  • Other reported home fires
o   1 out of every142 home fires resulted in a death
When decorating the holiday tree follow these simple safety tips:
  • Decorate with children in mind. Do not put ornaments that have small parts or metal hooks, or look like food or candy, on the lower branches where small children can reach them.
  • Trim protruding branches at or below a child’s eye level, and keep lights out of reach.
  • Natural trees always involve some risk of fire. To minimize the risk:
o   Get a fresh tree and keep it watered at all times.
o   Do not put the tree within three feet of a heat source, i.e. fireplace, space heater, radiator or heat vent.
  • Never leave a lit tree or other decorative lighting displays unattended.
o   Turn off all decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections and broken sockets.
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
  • Do not run an electrical cord under a rug.
  • Do not burn tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace.
  • Keep near each phone the number of the National Poison Center (800) 222-1222.
Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue would like to remind individuals that holidays were designed to spend time with family and friends and not for making 911 calls or visits to the emergency room. Make your holiday a cherished and memorable holiday by preparing and implementing proper precautions.


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