Decorate smarter: Fire safety tips for the holidays

The Springfield Township Fire Department recommends a plastic as opposed to a real tree

In light of recent fire tragedies like in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Oakland, we wanted to look into precautions people can take to keep their families safe -- especially during the holidays, as lights and Christmas trees can cause issues.

NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In light of recent fire tragedies like in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Oakland, we wanted to look into precautions people can take to keep their families safe — especially during the holidays, as lights and Christmas trees can cause issues.

If you’re debating buying a real or a fake tree for the holidays, the Springfield Township Fire Department recommends sticking with the plastic because the needles on real trees dry quickly without water. And then they become very flammable.

Additionally, make sure that your tree — real or fake — isn’t blocking any fire exits in your house.

But if you do go with a real tree, Bob Parilla, co-owner of Chucks Dogwood Nursery, has some advice.

“Keep it watered,” he said. “Get it in a stand when you get it in the house. Make sure you have a stand that holds a nice quantity of water. Keep water in it.

“Also, watch where you put the tree. Don’t put it in a room where you have a wood burner or a fireplace. Because the air gets dry — dries the tree out.”

For the lights, the Springfield Fire Department says it’s safer to go with LED’s because they don’t get nearly as hot as traditional lights.

Here’s a checklist from Springfield Fire Chief Matt Gebhardt that you can go through before your holiday planning.

“The first thing is size,” he said. “How big are you going to go? Are you going to go too big for the room? Then the next thing is proper placement in the house.

“And then the next thing is the lights you’re putting on it. Are they good lights? Have the lights been in an attic? Has a mouse chewed your lights? Inspect your lights.”

Parilla’s advice on lights is to get new ones every 2-3 years.

“They might not look bad, but they’re starting to age, just as anything else does,” he said. “Christmas lights are normally the cause of a lot of the fires.”

The Springfield Fire Department also recommends that before firing up your furnaces and chimney’s for the season, have a maintenance person come out to your house to make sure that everything is working properly.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, make sure to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.


WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s