DCA Releases 2009 Holiday Fire Safety Hints Tip Sheet

TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Division of Fire Safety today issued its Holiday Fire Safety Hints tip sheet for 2009. The tip sheet can be accessed at http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dfs/ on the DCA website.

"The winter holidays should be a season of celebration and time spent enjoying the company of family and friends," said DCA Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman. "However, people should also be mindful of the fire safety hazards that present themselves specifically at this time of year."

Over the past five years in the United States, there has been an annual average of 250 house fires, 14 civilian fatalities, and $13.8 million in property damage related to Christmas trees and holiday lights and candles. The Division of Fire Safety asks that people take a few fire safety precautions in and around their homes to ensure a happy, healthy, and fire-safe holiday season.

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

  • Always keep live Christmas trees in water.
  • Never recycle trees in your fireplace or stove.
  • Pre-inspect all strands and plugs on Christmas lights and replace frayed insulation and damaged sockets.
  • Limit joined light strands to three.
  • 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.

"Following local fire department recommendations and common fire safety procedures will help to make this holiday a safe one for all residents," said State Fire Marshal and Division of Fire Safety Director Lawrence Petrillo.

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.