Holiday Safety Tips

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Christmas Tree Safety

  • Consider an artificial tree (they are much safer and cleaner).
  • A real tree should not lose green needles when you tap it on the ground.
  • Cut 1 inch off the trunk to help absorb water.
  • Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate.
  • The stand should hold at least 1 gal. of water.
  • A 6' tree will use 1 gallon of water every two days.
  • Mix a commercial preservative with the water.
  • Check the water level every day.
  • Secure the tree with wire to keep it from tipping.
  • Keep tree away from floor heaters, fire places, or other heat sources.
  • Use only UL-listed lights, and no more than 3 strands linked together.
  • Use miniature lights--which have cool-burning bulbs.
  • Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you leave your home for very long.
  • Never use candles, even on artificial trees.
  • Clean the tree stand to improve the tree's water intake, use one capful of bleach to a cup of water.
  • Dispose of the tree properly.

Home Safety

  • Install a smoke detector or new batteries in the one(s) you have and TEST it.
  • Use only outdoor lights outside your home.
  • Examine light strings each year, discard worn ones.
  • Fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture build up.
  • Connect no more than three strands together.
  • Never use indoor extension cords outside.
  • Avoid overloading wall outlets and extension cords.
  • Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.
  • Unplug light string before replacing a bulb. Review the original package to verify proper wattage and voltage.
  • When connecting light strands, wrap a plastic bag around connections and tie ends with teflon tape.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree, use colored spot lights.
  • Make sure trees hung with X-mas lights are not touching power lines.
  • When using candles, place them a safe distance from combustibles.
  • Place candles in sturdy containers. Remember, hot wax burns kids.
  • Extinguish candles prior to going to bed.
  • Dispose of fireplace ashes into a metal container until cold.
  • After parties, check around and under sofa and chair cushions for smoldering cigarettes. (Provide lots of ash trays)
  • Install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.
  • Have an operable fire extinguisher readily available.

"Safety" gift ideas

Put together a gift basket containing one or more of the following items:

  • Three smoke detectors and batteries.
  • A quality fire extinguisher.
  • A flashlight and batteries or light sticks.
  • A first-aid kit.
  • A carbon Monoxide detector.
  • A mobile phone.
  • A second floor escape ladder.
  • "Emergency kit"- energy bars, water, battery radio, flashlight/light sticks and a first-aid kit packed in a small travel bag.

Please have an enjoyable and safe Holiday season.

The above information is used with permission by: Swift Office Solutions © 2000 Swift Office Solutions, Inc.

Live Christmas Tree Use in Apartment Buildings

Important Information Concerning The Use Of Live Christmas Trees In R-2 Type Occupancies:

With the advent of the State of Indiana adopting the 200 International Fire Code, which has been re-named the Indiana Fire Code, certain new rules affecting multi-family occupancies, which include apartment complexes, have been established.

In May 2003 I attempted to make apartment complexes aware of the regulations regarding the use of charcoal grills and gas grills on balconies above the first floor and the 10-foot from combustible siding requirements. I was recently asked to research live Christmas trees in multi-family settings. According to the Code apartments are classified at Residential 2 (R-2) occupancies.
The following is verbatim from the 2003 Indiana Fire Code:

Section 804 Decorative Vegetation:

804.1 Natural cut trees. Natural cut trees, where permitted by this section, shall have the trunk bottoms cut off at least .0.5 inch above original cut and shall be placed in a support device complying with Section 804.1.2.

801.1.1 Restricted occupancies. Natural cut trees shall be prohibited in Group A, E, I-1, I-2, I-3, I-4, M, R-1, R-2 and R-4.

Exception: Trees located in areas protected by an approved automatic sprinkler system installed in accordance with Section 903.3.1.1 or 903.3.1.2 shall not be prohibited in Groups A, E, M, R-1 and R-2.

This Code passage indicates that if the apartment complex were not protected with an approved automatic fire sprinkler system, live Christmas trees would be a violation to the Code.

It is not the intention of the Carmel Fire Department to regulate live Christmas trees or other decorative vegetation in tenant’s apartments. This would only affect common or public areas of the complex and would be enforced by our department. We intend to allow each individual apartment management company the discretionary power to allow what they choose to for a tenant’s under their leasing control.

More Information:

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