Village of Park Forest, IL

12/11/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/11/2023 16:50

Park Forest Fire Department recommends taking holiday fire safety precautions

When you deck the halls this holiday season, the Park Forest Fire Department reminds residents to take precautions to protect their families and keep fire safety at the forefront.

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Cotrano said residents can take simple steps to prevent a disaster.

"According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPSA), half of all Christmas tree fires are caused by an electrical problem or a heat source too close to the tree," Cotrano said. "Residents should be mindful to check surge protectors and be sure not to overload them."

Cotrano noted it is vital to keep space heaters and other heating devices far away from the tree, as they are easily combustible. He added that you can prevent these accidents by taking proper safety measures when purchasing, setting up, decorating, and disposing of (or storing) your tree.

"When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label 'fire-retardant,'' Cotrano said. "Although this label does not mean the tree will not catch fire, it indicates that it will resist burning and extinguish quickly."

Cotrano continued, "When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. Check if the needles are green and hard to pull from the branches. Also, see if the needles bend between your fingers without breaking."

Below are more tips on ways to be proactive and keep your home safe during the holiday season.

Holiday Decorating:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose UL certified decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors that could block exits.

Christmas Tree Safety:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.