Monday, December 22, 2014

Recipe to Fire Proof Your Live Tree


The Philadelphia Fire Department recommends placing your live tree in a special mixture to keep it from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. 

Start by mixing the following ingredients in a five gallon bucket.
  • 2 gallons of hot water.
  • 2 cups of Karo syrup.
  • 2 ounces of liquid chlorine bleach.
  • 2 pinches of Epsom Salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Borax.
  • 1 teaspoon of chelated iron
All of these items can be found at your local grocery store.

Make a fresh cut one inch from the bottom of the tree and place it in this mixture for 24 hours. Then place the tree in its stand and add this mixture. Remember to top it off each day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Fire Safety for Live Trees

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick J.V. Sawyer and the Philadelphia Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division offer fire safety tips for decorating a tree during the holidays.

Each year, during the Holiday Season, the Philadelphia Fire Department's Fire Prevention Division promotes fire safety to educate citizens on the proper care and maintenance of live trees.

Select a fresh tree:
  • Purchase a tree as close as possible to the holiday.
  • Test that the branches are pliable.
  • Make sure there is sap on the base of the tree where it was cut.
  • If the needles are falling off, choose another tree.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Live Trees:
  • Make a fresh 1-inch cut at the base of the tree.
  • Place tree firmly in the tree stand with plenty of room for water.
  • Check water level daily.
  • Check electrical cords for wear.
  • Never overload electrical outlets.
  • Never leave a lighted tree unattended.
  • Don't let the tree block exits or stairs.
  • Keep the tree away from portable heaters or any heat source.
  • Be sure the tree is free of ornaments and decorations before disposal or recycling.
  • Take the tree down as soon as the needles start to fall off.
  • Place the tree untied and free of decorations outdoors in a safe area until trash day.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Decorate Safely for the Holidays

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 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year.

The following are a few simple fire safety tips from the USFA to help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season.

Holiday Lights
  • Maintain 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 Decorations
  • Use 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.
  • Don't 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.

Wrapping Paper
  • 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 Care
  • Avoid Using Lit Candles. Consider using battery-operated 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.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Winter Supplies for Your Car Emergency Kit

It's important to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle whenever you are driving. As the winter approaches, make sure you have the following essentials:
  • Flashlight and extra batteries. 
  • Battery-operated or wind-up radio.
  • Jumper cables. 
  • Emergency flares. 
  • Tow chains or tow rope. 
  • Cell phone and charger. 
  • First-aid kit. 
When driving in the winter, add a few more emergency supplies in case you get stranded in the ice and snow. These items include:
  • Warm clothing, hats and mittens. 
  • Blankets.
  • Ice scraper.
  • Snow shovel. 
  • Road salt or sand. 
  • Snacks (granola bars or energy bars).
  • Bottled water.
  • Any special needs, such as medication, baby supplies, pet food.

For additional information on preparing for the winter, visit the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management's Winter Preparedness page. You can also download the Winter Driving Guide from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).