If you're planning to have a live tree for this year's holiday season, be sure to review this safety advice provided by the Johnston Fire Department.
Fire Chief Timothy McLaughlin noted that, while decorating one's home and business is a "long-standing tradition, these same decorations may increase [peoples'] chances of fires."
McLaughlin provided the list of safety tips published by the U.S. Fire Administration, including:
- Don’t put your live Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
- Place trees away from heat sources, including fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.
- Keep the live tree stand filled with water at all times.
- Use only nonflammable decorations.
- Don’t link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it’s safe.
- Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
- Avoid using lit candles; consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
- Ensure that Christmas trees and other holiday decorations don’t block an exit way.
And, whether it's the holiday season or not, McLaughlin urged residents and business owners to have a "comprehensive fire protection plan" as recommended by the USFA, which includes smoke and fire detectors, sprinklers in homes and businesses, and an escape plan.