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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Celebrate the Holidays Safely - Candle Safety

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

The fire service has seen an increase in home fires with the popularity and increased use of candles.  Combine the everyday popularity with the increased use during the Holiday Season where candles play an important role in religious celebrations and the chances of a candle igniting a fire increases.   December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.  In December, across the country, 13% of home candle fires begin with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.

The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department is providing safety tips from the United States Fire Administration to help eliminate preventable candle fires and keep Safety First to ensure everyone goes home.  On average there are 42 home candle fire reported every day.

Causes and Circumstances of Home Candle Fires

More than half of all candle fires start when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations is too close to the candle.

In one-fifth (20%) of candle fires, the candles are unattended or abandoned.

Over one-third (36%) of home candle fires begin in the bedroom.

Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 36% of the associated deaths.

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.  In December 13% of home candle fires begin with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.

One-half of home candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6 am.

Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.

The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light.

Sources: NFIRS, NFPA


Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and fell like real candles.

If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.

Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas.

Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.

Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.

Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.

Set a good example by using matches, lighters and fire carefully.

Children should never be allowed to play with matches, lighters or candles.

Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire.

Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.

Never put candles on a Christmas tree.

When using in home worship, don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them, or pass handheld candles from one person to another. To lower the risk of fire, only only a few designated adults should use candles.

And NEVER leave burning candles unattended!

Remember!  Candle fires are PREVENTABLE!

In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!
Escape first, and then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it frequently with your family.  Designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room.

Finally, as in every season, have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. We strongly encourage the use of 10-year, tamper proof, with hush feature smoke and CO alarms.

Know when and how to call for help. Remember to practice your home escape plan.  
The Prince George's County Safety First Program will provide County residents with a working smoke alarm and install one for you, free of charge.  Simply call 311.

BBQ Safety Tips for Christmas Day???

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

Grill Safety

A typical Christmas Day fire/EMS safety tip would include cooking safety focusing on indoor cooking.  I have never included reminders on how to safely use your BBQ grill and how to dispose of used charcoal briquettes in December!!!  However, warmer than usual temperatures have prompted some to consider firing up the grill and cooking outside for the Eve and Christmas Day.  

PGFD recommends that you exercise caution and keep safety in mind when setting up, using and cleaning your BBQ grill.   Did you know that cooking, most notably "unattended cooking" is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries in Prince George's County, this includes both inside and outside cooking: WATCH WHAT YOU HEAT!!!

•NEVER use a grill indoors including garages, overhangs and canopies

•By Law - Grills must be at least 30 feet away from any multi-family apartment dwelling.

•When using a grill at your single family home – homeowners should use a 10-foot perimeter from anything combustible – including your house!!! Never place a grill up against your house, wood deck or fence.

•In Prince George’s County - all grills are illegal to use on balconies of apartments and condominium apartments

•Do not allow children and pets to play near a grill - set up a 10 foot safety zone around your grill.

•Only use approved ignition fluids – NEVER use gasoline to ignite a grill

•Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of sand nearby to douse a grill fire that gets out of control.

•Inspect your grill before you ignite to ensure everything is in working order. This inspection includes all connections on your gas grills are tight and not leaking.

Charcoal ashes and used briquettes should be disposed of in a metal container and allowed to cool down for up to 48 hours before disposal.  Keep ash container off of your wood deck and away from your house.

On behalf of the entire Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department we sit you Have a safe and Merry Christmas and Holiday Season!!!