April 23, 2014

Fire Safety: Holiday Fire Safety

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season.  Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire.  Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 250 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 170 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year.  Together, these fires resulted in 21 deaths and 43 injuries.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy.  Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home.  Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees.  Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

Christmas Trees

What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree?  If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”

Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually.  Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires.  Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.

Selecting a Tree for the Holidays

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.  The trunk should be sticky to the touch.  Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground.  If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.  The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.  Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree.  Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.  Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.  The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.


Holiday LightsMaintain Your Holiday Lights

Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets

Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.

Do not leave holiday lights on unattended!

Holiday DecorationsUse Only Nonflammable Decorations

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Do not Block Exits

Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit way. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry/exit way puts you and your family at risk.

Never Put Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace

Wrapping paper in the fireplace can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.

Candle CareAvoid Using Lit Candles

If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down.

Never leave the house with candles burning.

Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree

Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters or matches.

As in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help, and remember to practice your home escape plan!

2011 Annual Fire Prevention Open House

 Flourtown Fire Company will hold its annual Fire Prevention Open House on:

Monday, October 10, 2011

6 – 8 PM

At the firehouse, 1526 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, PA 19031

Scooby Doo, along with all your volunteer firefighter and fire police will be on hand to demonstrate equipment, answer questions and discuss how your family can practice fire safety.

Please join us for this annual event with the community, for more information on fire prevention see www.firepreventionweek.org

2009 Flourtown Fire Company Fire Prevention Open House

October 5, 2009 Flourtown Fire company held its annual fire prevention open house. There was food, tours of the fire trucks, a fire prevention puppet show, oven/stove fire demonstrations and Barren Hill Fire Company’s smoke house. The highlight of the evening was Scooby-Doo’s arrival on the new Squad 6 following the landing of PennStar’s helicopter.

Images of Flourtown Fire Company’s Fire Prevention Open House – 2009

Flourtown Fire Company Fire Prevention

FirePrevention_AtSchoolFlourtown Fire Company is dedicated to promoting fire safety education to the Springfield Township community. Fire Safety is everyone’s concern, the following programs are conducted by members of Flourtown Fire Company:

This year’s fire prevention messsage is
Stay Fire Smart – Don’t Get Burned

It is not enough to have a home fire escape plan in order to escape a burning home safely. You must ensure that everyone in your home knows the plan, and and has practiced the plan.

According to a recent NFPA poll, the majority of American homes have a fire escape plan, but most have not practiced it.


Fire Prevention Night

This event is scheduled each October during Fire Safety Week, and includes tours of the firehouse, Engine 6, Squad 6, Ladder 6 and Utility 6. Our antique truck is also on display. Demonstrations about kitchen safety, firefighting and rescue equipment, and the importance of smoke detectors and home escape plans are also discussed. Fire prevention literature is displayed for adults and educational coloring books are available for children. Smoke detectors are also available to families in need. This successful event has raised community awareness of the importance of fire safety and we invite you to check back here for the date of this year’s event.

Fire Prevention Night 2008 (06-Oct-08) – Images

Annual Visits to Local Schools and Day Care Centers

During Fire Safety Week each October, firefighters visit local schools and day care centers where children can see firsthand firefighters arriving at their school on fire trucks! Through presentations and demonstrations of equipment and videos, children learn about fire safety and become comfortable with seeing firefighters dressed in their full protective gear.

Fire Safety Night at the Firehouse

As a reminder of the importance of practicing fire safety every day, fire safety night is scheduled at the firehouse during the spring. Visitors can tour the firehouse and trucks, view demonstrations of firefighting equipment and fire safety videos, and discuss home escape plans.

In an emergency dial 9-1-1

Fire Deaths:

  • Home fires cause a fatality roughly every 170 minutes.
  • Smoking materials such as cigarettes, cigars and pipes are the leading cause of fire deaths. The majority of residential fires associated with smoking materials start as a result of careless or improper disposal.

Smoke Alarms:

  • Having an operationing smoke alarms in your home reduces your chance of dying in a fire nearly in half.
  • In three of every ten reported fires in homes equipped with smoke alarms, the devices did not work most often because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries.

Home Escape Planning:

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association survey, only 66% of Americans have a home fire escape plan. Thirty-four percent have never practiced it.


  • During the months of December, January and February, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires.
  • Have heating equipment inspected and cleaned annually.
  • Turn off portable heaters when not in use.
  • Maintain appropriate clearance (check warning labels) between space heaters and anything that can burn.


  • Over the last decade, candle fires have almost tripled. Remember that a candle is an open flame. It can easily ignite anything combustible nearby.
  • Approximately 16,000 home fires started by candle are reported to fire departments annually and approximately 130 people die annually from fires started as a result of candles.


  • More fires start in the kitchen than any other place in the home.
  • Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.


  • Electrical fires and shocks kill hundreds of people and injure thousands each year. Ensure wiring, switches, receptacles and outlets are properly installed and extension cords are used properly.
  • Remember downed wires should always be deemed live and please keep your distance from them.