Don't let holiday lights light you up
By Tech. Sgt. Carrie Frederickson, 48th Civil Engineer Squadron fire prevention inspector
/ Published December 16, 2010
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The 48 Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Emergency Services Flight would like to wish you a happy and fire safe holiday season.
The winter season is fire season; historically more home fires occur during the months of December through February. With the onset of the holiday season, it is important to focus on fire safety and fire prevention. The celebration of the season brings with it increased usage of electric lights, decorations, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree, all of which can be potential fire hazards. Additionally, cooking fires increase during the holidays. Here is a list of things you can do to help ensure you have a "Fire Safe Holiday."
· Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
· Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, don't mix and match them. Replace lights if they're worn, broken, or have loose connections. Do not connect more than three strands together. Read manufacturer's instructions for all lights.
· Turn off all lights, indoors and outdoors, before leaving home or going to bed.
· Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn. Ensure candles are extinguished before leaving or going to bed. Don't leave them within a child's reach.
· If you have an artificial tree, be sure it's been identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
· If you opt for a cut tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that do not fall of when touched. Check and add water daily to your tree stand.
· When placing your tree, make sure it is at least three feet from any heat source and is not blocking an exit.
· Never use lit candles to decorate your tree.
· Always turn off and unplug tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Electrical outlets, surge protectors and multi-strips:
· Don't overload your electrical outlets with multiple transformers, extension cords, surge protectors or multi-strips. As a good rule of thumb, plug only one transformer into one outlet and only one surge protector into one outlet. Don't "piggy back" or "daisy chain" (i.e. plugging multiple multi-strips and/or surge protectors into each other or plugging multiple extension cords together). Only surge protected multi-strip plugs are authorized for use in government facilities.
· When selecting surge protectors ensure you select the right one for the job. Read the fine print on the back before use.
· Periodically inspect plugs to ensure they're not crimped by furniture and are allowed to hang freely with no obstructions. Do not run cords under or over doorways, under carpets, or leave them lying around to become a trip hazard.
· If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the oven or stovetop
· Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave even for a short time, turn off the stove and remove the pan from the burner.
· If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or broiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home or dorm within close proximity and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking food.
· Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop.
· Keep pan handles turned inward to avoid spills of hot food and liquids.
· Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet/one meter around the stove or areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
· If you have a fire, just get out and stay out, when you leave close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
· Call 911 if using a DSN telephone. If calling from Liberty Village or dorms on RAF Lakenheath using a BT telephone dial 527-911, from RAF Feltwell dial 01638-527-911. If using a mobile/cell phone dial 01638-527-911. Recommend that you program this number into your mobile/cell phone for speed dial. If you live at RAF Mildenhall dial 01638-547-911. If you live off base dial 999.
To schedule a fire inspector to speak at your safety briefings, commander's call, or other events please call 226-3051, 3052, or 2112.