DOJ: News Release

Fire Marshal’s Office Offers Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

HELENA — A few simple precautions can ensure a fire-free holiday season for Montanans and their visiting relatives and friends, acting State Fire Marshal Allen Lorenz said Thursday.
Lorenz offered the following reminders for Christmas trees:

  • Make sure real trees are fresh. A fresh tree will not shed its needles when tapped or shaken.
  • Cut the trunk of your fresh tree at an angle and install the tree in a large, deep non-tip stand well away from fireplaces, exits and heat sources.
  • Be sure your tree has a constant supply of water. Check the water level daily.
  • If your tree dries out, remove it from your house immediately and store it away from your house until you can dispose of it.
  • If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is flame-retardant.

The State Fire Marshal’s office also provided advice for people hosting holiday parties:

  • Use flame-retardant or non-combustible materials for costumes and decorations.
  • Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays and keep an eye on anyone who is drinking and smoking.
  • Empty ashtrays often, wetting their contents before dumping them.
  • After a party, check cushions and furniture for smoldering cigarette butts.
  • Supervise children and keep them away from matches, lighters and candles.

Lorenz offered specific warnings for using Christmas lights and candles:

  • Use lights that bear the label of an independent testing lab.
  • Throw away sets of lights that have cracked or frayed cords, or loose or damaged sockets.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, or near heaters as this ruins the integrity of the cord’s outer covering.
  • Make sure extension cords aren’t pinched behind furniture.
  • Make sure you unplug all decorative lights before going to bed.
  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree.
  • Put candles securely in non-tip candleholders.
  • Keep candles well away from Christmas trees, decorations, curtains and other combustibles.
  • Never put candles in windows or near exits.
  • Don’t leave candles burning unattended or within reach of small children, and blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.

“Stay safe and let’s all try to have a fire-free Holiday season and New Year,” Lorenz said.

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