How to avoid holiday decoration fires

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(WWLP) – The holidays are finally here. As we head into the season of holiday cheer are you taking the necessary precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but they can increase the risk of home fires if you are not taking the necessary precautions.

The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services has some tips for you to deck the halls this season while also being fire smart:

  • Keep your decorations away from heat sources: Inspect lights and wires thoroughly. Throw away light strands that with frayed or pinched wires.
  • Hydrate your tree: Be sure to regularly water your tree. Dry trees have a higher probability of catching fire
  • Candle Safety: If you want to light up some candles be sure to maintain a one foot circle of safety around them to avoid any potential accidents, and place them on a holder. Do not leave candles unattended or in places where they can be knocked down easily.

Protect Your Home and Family with Smoke Alarms

  • Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairs and at the base of cellar stairs.
  • Maintain smoke alarms. Test them once a month.
  • If the alarm uses regular batteries, change them at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks. A “chirping” sound indicates that it’s time to change 
    the batteries.
  • Smoke alarms must be replaced every ten years. Alarms are labeled with their date of manufacture. If there is no label, they are older than ten years and must be replaced

Protect Your Home and Family with Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • The law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed on every level of your home, including habitable portions of basements and attics, in most residences.
  • On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within ten feet of bedroom doors.
  • When purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), International Approval Service (IAS), or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Most carbon monoxide alarms that are sold in the Commonwealth meet these standards, but it’s a good idea to check before buying.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms may be
    • Battery operated with battery monitoring
    • Plug-ins with battery back-up
    • Low voltage systems
    • Wireless
    • Qualified combination
  • Replace carbon monoxide alarms every five to seven years, depending on the make and model.
  • Newer CO alarms have a ten year sealed battery that does not need changing. At ten years, the entire device is replaced. 
  • If you have a plug-in model, be aware that the battery will run down during an extended power outage and may need to be replaced. 

For Landlords and Tenants

  • Nicole’s Law also requires landlords to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms in every dwelling unit that has a source of carbon monoxide.
  • Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside of the individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect carbon monoxide near the furnace, boiler rooms, or garage.

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