HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The holiday season is quickly approaching, and while it is important to enjoy this time of year, it is crucial to keep fire safety in mind. The American Red Cross, in conjunction with Towns County Fire and Rescue, will be visiting local residences to install free smoke detectors on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Citizens in need of the no-charge service should call 706-896-2090 to schedule a time for installation.
Additionally, Agent Kimberly Farner of Kim Farner Agency has partnered with Georgia Arson Control to urge the citizens of Towns County to be aware of the possible hazards that are involved with seasonal decorations.
“The holiday season can be filled with family, friends, and good food, but let’s also keep safety in mind while enjoying this time of year,” Farner encouraged. Farner offered the following tips to ensure a safe holiday:
- When purchasing a tree, check the tree for freshness. A dry tree is highly flammable. Use this test: hold a branch about six inches from the tip, and pull your hand toward the tip, allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. If the tree is fresh, very few green needles will come off. Also, lift the tree off the ground and tap the trunk on the ground. Again, very few needles should fall off.
- Before placing the tree in a stand designed not to tip over, cut about six inches off the trunk of the tree and soak the base of the tree in a bucket of water overnight.
- The tree stand should be designed to hold plenty of water and should be checked daily.
- Do not place the tree or natural garland near a fireplace, furnace vents, television, or other heat sources.
- Consider having a live tree with a root ball that can be replanted after the holidays. A live tree is less flammable than a cut tree but still requires watering.
- Buy lights labeled by a recognized testing laboratory and check annually for frayed or damaged cords. On Christmas trees, use small lights that stay cool to the touch or LED lights which also save energy.
- For outside decorations, use only outdoor lights. Never use indoor lights outside.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets with multiple plug adaptors or power taps. Use caution with extension cords; make sure they’re placed where they won’t trip anyone. Avoid running extension cords under carpets or rugs.
- Make sure candles are a safe distance from the tree, curtains, furniture, and other flammable objects. Use large base candles or protect candles in a globe. Don’t leave candles unattended. Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
The Georgia Arson Control Program, Inc. (GAC) was formed in January of 1979 by property and casualty insurers writing business in Georgia. GAC, with the cooperation of the Commissioner, Georgia Department of Insurance and Safety Fire, and state/local law enforcement agencies established an ARSON HOTLINE 1-800-282-5804. A reward fund of up to $10,000 was initiated from which monetary rewards are given to individuals who come forward with information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for arson and/or fraud.