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Be Safe with Holiday Trees and Lights

Post Date:11/28/2018 9:00 AM

Please follow these holiday fire safety tips from Travis County Emergency Services District #2 (the Pflugerville Fire Department):

  • Water Real Trees Daily.  When shopping for a real Christmas tree, look for one with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from the branches. The tree should not be shedding any needles yet when you buy it.  Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand EVERY DAY. Some lights are only safe for indoor or outdoor use, but not both; use ONLY outdoor lights on real Christmas trees. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving your house or going to sleep. Position the tree away from your exits and at least three feet away from any heat source such as a fireplace or portable space heater.
  • Light it RightFollow the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of light strands to connect. Some holiday lights are only safe for indoor or outdoor use, but NOT both. When hanging holiday lights, use clips – not nails – to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.  If you need to use a ladder, work with a partner on the ground.  Replace any string of lights that has worn or broken cords or any loose bulb connections. 
  • Take Care with Candles.  If candles are part of your holiday festivities, try using battery-operated candles instead!  Remember to keep lit candles away from decorations, curtains and other things that can burn— and choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant. Locate candles away from windows and doors, so your exits aren’t blocked if a fire starts. And never leave children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle! Keep matches/lighters out of children’s reach, ideally up HIGH in a locked cabinet.
  • Check your Chimney.  Before you curl up with a good book by the fire, be sure to get your chimneys cleaned by a professional and your heating equipment inspected EVERY year.  Ensure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to help prevent sparks from flying.  Also, if you have any type of fuel-burning equipment for heating or cooking in your home, you should install at least one carbon monoxide (CO)  detector on every level of the home to help prevent CO poisoning.
  • Keep Your Smoke Alarms Working.  If a fire does start, the lives of your family and house guests may rely on a smoke alarm to alert you in time to escape.  Remember to push the test button on all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms every month, replace alkaline batteries at least once a year, and replace any alarm older than 10 years. For more information on alarms, please visit
  • Have a Fire Escape Plan.  Your entire household including any overnight guests should know at least two ways of escaping every room of the home, in case one way is blocked by fire.  Be sure that windows open easily and doors aren’t blocked, and be prepared to crawl low under smoke.  Review where you will all meet outside in case of a fire, known as your “safe meeting place.”


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