DCA Releases 2010 Holiday Fire Safety Tip Sheet

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Division of Fire Safety today issued its Holiday Fire Safety Hints tip sheet for 2010. The Division of Fire Safety is asking New Jersey Residents to get "Fire Smart" for the holiday season.

"The winter holidays should be a season of celebration and family gathering," said DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa. "We ask that people take a moment to read the holiday fire prevention tips and apply the tips to their households so they can avoid fire-related tragedy during this festive time."

Statistics provided by the National Fire Protection Association show an estimated 260 structure fires annually are caused by Christmas trees and another 170 are caused by faulty holiday lighting. Together they caused 21 deaths in 2009.

Here are a few holiday fire safety precautions that can be found on the tip sheet:

  • Select a Christmas tree that has a sticky trunk and needles that are green and hard to pull back from the branches.

  • Always keep live Christmas trees in water.

  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from heat sources, including fireplaces and heating vents.

  • Pre-inspect all strands and plugs on Christmas lights and replace frayed insulation and damaged sockets.

  • Do not link more than three light strands together.

  • Do not leave your holiday lights burning overnight or while you are away from your home.

  • Use decorations that are labeled as flame retardant and non-flammable.

  • Place lit candles only on stable surfaces and away from flammables.

  • Extinguish all candles before leaving home and never leave lit candles unattended.

  • Never place gift wrappings in a fireplace or cast iron stove for disposal.

"The holiday season is also a great time to make sure your smoke alarms are in working order and to review your home escape plan so that if in the event of a fire, everyone in your household knows how to get out quickly and safely," said Commissioner Grifa.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs. For more information, log on to http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dfs on the DCA website.