Public Information Office
Contact: Kimberly Evans
555 Wright Way
Carson City, Nevada 89711
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 4,1998
NEWS FROM: Nevada State Fire Marshal 98-149
State Fire Marshal Urges Nevadans to Watch Out For Holiday Fire
Look for potential holiday decoration danger spots
The Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety's State Fire Marshal, in cooperation
with local fire departments, is reminding Nevada residents to look for and eliminate
potential dangerous areas from holiday decorations, trees and lights.
Each year in the US, over 1,300 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for
injuries related to holiday lights. Christmas trees are also involved in about 500 fires
annually, resulting in a national average of $20 million in property loss and damage.
To ensure that this holiday season is a safe and happy one, the State Fire Marshal is
releasing the following safety tips:
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label FIRE RESISTANT. Although this
label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist
burning and should extinguish quickly.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are
hard to pull from branches, and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The
trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when bounced on the ground, the tree
should not lose many needles.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with
electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because
heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water.
Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. This is a good time to
review your escape plan and rendezvous locations.
- Indoors and outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized
testing laboratory. Adhere to the manufacturers recommendations if stringing light set
- Check each set of lights, new or old, with the power off, for broken or cracked sockets,
frayed or bared wires, or loose connections, and discard damaged sets. (More)
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls or other firm supports to protect
the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not
nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
- Turn off lights when you go to bed or when you leave the house. The lights could short
out and start a fire.
- FIREPLACE: If you have a fireplace, make sure that the chimney is cleaned regularly to
eliminate dangerous build-up of soot and ash. Also, be sure to keep all flammable items,
including Christmas stockings and discarded wrapping paper, well away from flames.
- GIFTS: Consider giving a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector this year, CO is an invisible,
odorless, colorless gas that can cause sickness and even death. The nonprofit National
Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that people protect themselves and their
families against CO poisoning by installing CO alarms, which provide early warning of
accumulating carbon monoxide. Remember that a CO detector does not replace a smoke
detector, you need both.
- ELECTRIC CORDS: Don't overload electrical outlets. Discard any lights with cracked or
frayed cords. Don't run extension cords under carpets, across doorways or near heaters.
Unplug all lights before leaving home or going to sleep.
- SMOKING: After a party, check on and behind cushions and furniture for smoldering
cigarette butts. Empty ashtrays often, wetting their contents.
For questions regarding holiday fire safety, contact the State
Fire Marshal's office at 687-4290.