State Fire Marshals Encourages Marylanders To Enjoy The Holidays Safely
State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci would like to wish residents across the State of Maryland happy holidays and remind them of safe practices when celebrating this season.
“This is the time of year where we gather around dinner tables, fire places, Christmas trees, and candles. It’s important to put safety first when celebrating the holiday traditions that are unique to your family in order to keep each other safe and well through the New Year,” said Fire Marshal Geraci.”
Review the tips below that are relevant to your family celebrations this holiday season, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.
• Remain in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top and stay in the home when your oven is in use.
• Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove when you are cooking.
• Keep the kitchen floor clear of obstructions that could cause someone to trip or fall while they’re carrying hot items.
• Never deep fry a frozen turkey (see above image). Always be certain your turkey is 100% thawed and dry before frying. For thawing instructions, click here.
• Never leave a fryer unattended and keep children and pets away from the area.
• Never operate a fryer outdoors in rain or snow and be sure it is placed on a level, sturdy surface away from trees and combustible structures.
• Let oil cool overnight before disposing.
• Leave at least two-feet between tank and burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
• Don’t overfill the fryer and be sure to turn the burner off just before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner back on.
• Utilize protective equipment, such as eye protection and grill mitts, when frying.
• Do not use deep fryers, knives, ovens, or stove tops while intoxicated.
• Choose a Christmas tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
• Cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk before placing the Christmas tree in a stand with water.
• Place the tree three feet away from any heat source such as a fireplace, radiator, candles, heat vents, or indoor lighting.
• Do not place a tree in the way of an exit of your home.
• Add water daily to your tree.
• Only use lights on your tree that have a label with a recognized testing laboratory on it.
• Replace any string lights that have worn or broken cords and loose bulb connections.
• Always turn off the Christmas tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
• Dispose of the tree after Christmas before it gets dry and becomes a fire danger. Do not leave it in the home or garage, instead, place it outside and check your local community for any recycling programs specifically for trees.
• When using candles, be sure they are placed in a sturdy holder away from anything flammable like curtains, lamp shades, and furniture.
• Handheld candles should not be passed form one person to another at any time.
• Always remain in the room with a lit candle. If it must burn continuously, be sure the candle is in an enclosed glass container and placed near a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
• Consider using battery-operated candles, especially if there are children in the home.
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Three of every five home candle fires happen when a candle is placed too close to something that can burn.
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do happen, they are more likely to be serious. One out of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by a heat source located too close to the tree.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to wish everyone happy holidays and a safe New Year.