Think fire safety

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014

From Staff Reports

Last Thursday morning, a cloud of smoke enveloped most of Columbiana, as tragically, the Wilsonville and Columbiana fire departments fought to prevent a house on Hughes Street from burning to the ground.
A police officer on the scene said a man was asleep when the smoke from the fire woke him up. All occupants in the house were able to escape, and thankfully, no injuries were reported in the incident.
It’s the type of news nobody likes to cover, and the event was made even more tragic because of its proximity to Christmas. And while firefighters are still working to determine the cause of the fire, it’s important for all of us to remember the importance of fire safety during the holiday season.
To that end, we feel it important to pass along some Christmas tree fire prevention tips from the National Fire Protection Agency:
*  If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
*  Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
*  Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1 to 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
*  Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
*  Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
*  Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
*  Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
*  Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
*  Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
*  Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Following these few safety tips this time of year can help to keep all of us safe this Christmas season. We pray another family won’t have to experience tragedy this holiday season.