Central New York is anything but white so far this holiday season. In fact, it’s down-right green and balmy here in the Syracuse, Auburn and Geneva, New York regions! Many of us upstate New Yorkers are hoping for some snow right about now- at least to take us through the holiday season. (Careful what you wish for — it might stay through March!)
While we upstaters are “dreaming of a white Christmas”, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) is dreaming of a . . . SAFE Christmas.
And justifiably so: Every holiday season needless house fires kill about 400 people and injure about 1,650 in the U.S.
The USFA offers these simple safe-holiday tips (and lots more, too — visit the USFA’s website here):
• Old, dried out Christmas trees are a fire hazard and should be avoided. You can identify them by knocking the tree trunk on the ground. If lots of needles fall off, it has probably dried out.
• Avoid placing the tree close to a heat source. (The heat will dry out the tree, making it more flammable.)
• Do not leave a tree up for longer than two weeks. (Get it later and get rid of it earlier!)
• Keep the tree stand filled with water.
• When the tree becomes dry, get it out of the house. (A dry tree is a major fire risk.)
HOLIDAY LIGHTS • Check Holiday lights for frayed wires, gaps in the insulation, broken sockets, kinking or wear and tear.
• Do not link more than three light strands (unless the directions say it is safe to do so). Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
• From time to time, check the wires – if they are warm to the touch, get rid of them.
• Keep holiday lights on only while you are awake and near them.
Decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat sources.
NEVER PUT WRAPPING PAPER IN A FIREPLACE:
It can cause the fire to surge, and send off sparks and embers.
SMOKE DETECTORS Check them to make sure they are working on all levels of your home.
We at Michaels & Smolak wish you all a happy and SAFE holiday season!