12 Days of Fire Safety

Sparky the Fire Dog, played by Airman 1st Class Damien Montero, 36th Civil Engineering Squadron, says no to bad safety practices during the holidays. Holiday lights may look pretty, but they can also cause fires. If lights have cracked or frayed cords, throw them away. Be sure artificial Christmas trees are labeled “flame retardant.” Water real Christmas trees several times a day. And make sure it doesn't block the room exit.   (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Miranda Moorer)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The holiday season is one of family, friends and good times. However, it can also be a time of fire hazards. Take a look at these safety tips from your friendly neighborhood fire prevention office to have a happy — and safe — holiday season.

On the first day, my true love gave to me a candle.
  • Candles are the second leading cause of fires during the holidays.
  • Remember when leaving home, blow out any candles. Maintain a safe distance between candles and curtains and furniture.
On the second day, my true love gave to me a space heater.
  • Space heaters account for 33 percent of home heating fires.
  • Space heaters need 3 feet of clearance while being operated. Never leave them unattended and always plug them directly into a wall outlet.
On the third day, my true love gave to me holiday lights.
  • Electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in 64 percent of fires involving holiday lights.
  • To reduce the risk of fire, use only holiday lights with the UL logo. Limit the number of strings to no more than three, and plug them directly into a wall outlet or surge protector — never an extension cord. Unplug holiday lights when you leave the house and when you go to sleep.
On the fourth day, my true love gave to me a freshly cut tree.
  • Each tree fire causes an average of six deaths and $18.3 million in property damage.
  • Ensure the tree you select is as fresh as possible. Avoid trees with brown needles. Keep trees watered daily and avoid placing them near sources of heat such as fireplaces, space heaters, candles or floor heating registers.
On the fifth day, my true love gave to me a smoke alarm.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the fatality rate during a fire in half!
  • Smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years and the batteries replaced as needed.
On the sixth day, my true love gave to me a Turkey.
  • Unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires throughout the year.
  • Use caution especially when cooking with grease. If you have a grease fire, NEVER use water to extinguish; instead, utilize a tight-fitting lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Make sure to fully thaw a turkey before deep-frying it.
On the seventh day, my true love gave to me a surge protector.
  • Surge protectors should be used instead of extension cords.
  • Only use quality-listed surge protectors with the UL or ETL logos. Never daisy-chain or run the cord underneath rugs.
On the eighth day, my true love gave to me a carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as wood, propane and gasoline burn incompletely.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. When the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, call 911 and evacuate the house.
On the ninth day, my true love gave to me an evacuation plan.
  • In 2013 there were approximately 369,500 home fires reported. Fire spreads rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape when the alarm sounds.
  • Gather your entire family together to make your escape plan. If you have small children a diagram of your house showing two ways out of every room is advised. After you have made your plan, practice it at least two times a year.
On the tenth day, my true love gave to me holiday decorations.
  • Nearly half of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.
  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Avoid placing decorations in windows and doorways.
On the eleventh day, my true love gave to me matches and lighters.
  • Younger children are more likely to set fires in the home and lighters were the heat source in 52 percent of home fires that started involving play.
  • Remember to secure matches and lighters out of reach of children. Talk with children about the danger of playing with matches and lighters.
On the twelfth day, my true love gave to me...alcohol.
  • Attempting to cook, smoke, decorate while under the influence can result in accidents and fatal fires.
  • Practice responsible drinking and keep in mind that alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fires.