• Sun. Aug 1st, 2021

‘Blow out all the candles:’ Greenwich volunteer firefighters offer holiday safety tips

GREENWICH — Volunteers in the Greenwich Fire Department are reminding the public about fire safety during the holiday season, particularly about the safe use of candles.

More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles, the National Fire Prevention Association reports. Also, more than two of every five decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

“We all enjoy this time of year of having holiday candles and stringed lights on,” says Brian M. Kelly, volunteer recruitment and retention coordinator of the Greenwich Fire Department. “Just remember before heading to bed that you blow out all the candles and turn off all stringed lights.”

Here are a list of safety recommendations from the department’s volunteers:

· Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.

· Keep lit candles away from decorations and other items 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.

· Keep live Christmas trees watered.

For holiday entertaining:

· Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.

· Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

· Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.

· Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stove top.

· Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.

· Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.

· Place all hot ashes in a metal container, take out of the house and store in a safe place in your yard. Do not place against the house.

About 120 volunteers serve in the Greenwich Fire Department, and new volunteers are welcomed.

“The skills and experience gained as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable and have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others,” said Kelly. “Those who join their local fire departments sign up for one of the most rewarding opportunities they’ll ever have.”