• Published
  • By Robins Fire Department
  • 778th Emergency Services Squadron
Christmas is the time of year for blessings past and future, which includes family gatherings for a festive time by all. 

We at the fire department would like to remind the base community that without fire prevention precautions, festive occasions could become tragedies.

Christmas trees, which are often the center of holiday festivities, are also the center of many holiday fires. 

Choosing a tree- Artificial trees come in many shapes and sizes. Choose a flame resistant tree for indoor use. A flame resistant tree is designed to resist ignition and is less likely to start a fire.  

Only artificial Christmas trees are permitted in the work place. Trees must be listed and have a fire resistive rating. Lights must be unplugged daily, and never left on unattended. Exit aisles and access ways must be kept clear for emergency use. Office decorations should never camouflage or obstruct exits, or interfere with the operation of fire alarms or sprinkler systems. Candles and other open flame devices are prohibited. 

Live Christmas trees are permitted in military family housing. Freshness is the most important thing to consider. Consider visiting a tree farm where you can pick out and harvest your own tree. If buying a previously cut tree, bend some needles to check for freshness. 

If the needles are brittle and break, or you gently tap the end of the tree trunk on the ground and many needles fall, the tree is too dry. 

Don't judge a tree by how green it is; trees are sometimes sprayed to enhance their color. Cut the bottom of the tree at an angle about 1 inch above the original cut, place it in a sturdy stand and securely anchor it. 

Place trees away from the fireplace, high-traffic areas, radiators and other heat sources. Always keep exits accessible. 

Check and refill the water level daily.

Housing residents should never place lit candles on or near a Christmas tree or other decorations. Keep candles, matches and lighters out of children's reach. Make sure candles have been extinguished before leaving the room or going to sleep. Check lighting sets, electric candles and similar holiday lighting equipment, as well as extension cords for frayed wiring, loose connections and broken sockets.  

Use decorative lighting which carries the UL label. Unlabeled materials seldom meet safety standards. Use indoor lights only for indoors and outdoors lights only for outdoors; never mix the two. Unplug lights and decorations before you leave the house or going to bed. Keep lights at least 6 inches from all combustibles, and never allow bulbs to come in contact with combustible materials. 

Decorations should be fire resistant and be listed or labeled. Spray-can snow, angel hair, or styrofoam can produce highly dangerous chemical reactions. If a spray substance is used, follow the directions carefully. Decorations such as paper, flowers, tinsel, streamers, scenery etc., are also manufactured with flame resistant ratings. In the event of a fire:

-Proceed to a safe area away from the fire, ensuring others stay away;
-Remain calm and call the fire department via 9-1-1, or 478-222-2900 from a non-base number;
-Answer all the emergency operator's questions;
-Give pertinent details to firefighters;
-Inform your supervisor of your well-being as well as account for your coworkers 
-Account for all family members and guests if at home

Only attempt to extinguish a fire after all other steps are performed and if you have been properly trained. 

Fires that have spread from where they originated cannot be extinguished with hand-held extinguishers; you must ensure professional firefighters are called.
Editor's Note: For more information call the Base Fire Prevention Office at DSN 468-2145 or 478-926-2145.