2015-12-02 / Features

Officials Issue Holiday Fire Prevention Guide

By Liz Goff
City fire officials are urging Queens residents to follow fire prevention tips offered in the FDNY’s Annual Holiday Guide. The guide provides fire safety tips for the use and decoration of Christmas trees, wreaths, candles and other holiday ornaments displayed during the holiday season.

Fire officials have also reissued the FDNY  “Burn Concern” fact sheet with information on what to do if a burn injury occurs. Fire officials are urging the public to keep a copy of the fact sheet at hand, for use in case of a holiday-related burn injury.

Officials are reminding the public that tips offered in the guide are a first response to burn injuries. In case of a serious burn injury, call 911 or seek immediate medical care, fire officials said.

Fire officials suggest you follow these tips when decorating your home, inside or outside:

  • Keep matches and candles away from children.
  • Make sure to extinguish all open flames before leaving any room.
  • When opening gifts, place wrapping paper in a suitable container and dispose of properly. Do not leave wrappings near tree lights where they could catch fire.
  • Check decorative lights for frayed wires before using them.
  • Don’t run extension cords under rugs.
  • Don’t overload outlets or plugs.
  • Use only “UL” (Underwriters Laboratory) or “FM” (Factory Mutual) approved decorative lights.
  • “UL” approved holiday lights and decorations carry a tag with a hologram, fire officials said. Do not be fooled by items that are not approved, but carry paper tags simply printed with “UL”
  • “UL” approved lights for indoor use carry a RED hologram tag and “UL” approved lights for outdoor use carry a GREEN hologram tag, fire officials said..
  • Buy only fresh natural trees – and make a cut in the fresh tree one inch from base, to allow water absorption.
  • Keep tree away from heat sources (radiators, stoves, heaters, fireplaces, and any open flames).
  • Turn off tree lights when leaving home or before going to sleep.

FDNY officials also offer these tips for a safe holiday season:

  • Use wire or nylon cord to secure trees to a wall or ceiling, to keep children or pets from tipping it over.
  • Keep tree away from halls, stairs and exits.
  • Check and replace worn or damaged light sets or wires.
  • If the tree dries out, take it down and remove it from the building.
  • To avoid a chimney fire, never burn wrappings in a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Never use candles on any type of Christmas tree!
  • Trees need water. Check and refill container often.
  • Don’t light up or smoke near Christmas trees – natural or artificial trees. Even artificial trees marked “Fireproof” can burn under some circumstances.
  • Keep tree outdoors until ready to decorate.
  • Keep natural trees only two weeks, and dispose of properly (check Dept. of Sanitation Rules for sidewalk pickup)
  • Do not use electric lights on metallic trees – they have a tendency to heat up to dangerous levels. Use only reflective lights that sit on the floor for metallic trees, and make sure to shut the lights off when you leave the house or go to bed.

Fire officials offer the following “Burn Concern” facts and suggestions on what to do in case a burn injury occurs. NOTE: officials advise that you seek medical attention as soon as possible in the case of a severe burn:

  • Stop the burning process; remove heat generated by clothing or other items, but do not pull items that have adhered to the skin
  • Stop, Drop, Roll; If clothing catches fire, smother the flames
  • Do Not Run; Running makes the burn worse
  • Call 911! Make the call for help immediately
  • Remove all burned clothing; Clothing may retain heat and cause deeper injuries. If clothing adheres to skin, cut or ear around adherent area
  • Pour cool running water over burn; Pour cool water over burned area for 10-15 minutes, or submerge burn under cool running water for 15 minutes
  • Do not apply ointments or butter; They may cause infections due to their oil base and provoke deeper injury – and they will retain the heat of the burn
  • Remove all jewelry, belts, tight clothing from burned area. Remember, swelling of burned area occurs immediately
  • For Minor Burns:
  • Use an antiseptic spray to relieve and prevent infection. Oatmeal-based antiseptics help remove heat.

Cover with a clean, dry dressing. Wash daily with soap and water and change dressing. If wound begins to drain excessively or have a foul odor, seek immediate medical attention.

  • Larger Surface Area Burns – burns larger than a fist:

Cool the area as suggested above, cover with a dry, clean dressing and seed immediate medical attention

  • Assisting Electrically Burned Victim:

Do not touch victim if he/she is in touch with the source of the electricity. Dial 911 for immediate assistance.

Extreme heat, such as flames, hot liquids, hot metal, flash explosions and faulty electric connections or wiring are some of the causes of burn injuries, fire officials said.

“More than half of all burns are scald burns resulting from exposure to hot tap water, boiling water (and other liquids) and kitchen burns,” officials said. “Holidays present a significant risk of scald burns resulting from accidents, carelessness and too many cooks in the kitchen.

“Following these tips is a sure way to help prevent holiday fires,” FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scopetta said.

To access the FDNY Annual Holiday Guide or the Burn Fact Sheet, go to: www.nyc.gov/fdnyholidayguide or www.nyc.gov/fdnyburnsheet.


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