Holiday safety precautions


When celebrating the holidays, simple mistakes can get looked over that could lead to disastrous fires. The West Elmira Fire Department said emergency calls tend to spike during the holiday season.

“We do get a few more calls, I just encourage people to be careful, especially the Christmas trees because they do go quick,” Beau Makinster, a firefighter at the West Elmira Fire Department, said.

Emphasis on quick. 

Firefighters at the Consumer Product Safety Commission Lab in Maryland showed just how fast a dried out tree can engulf in flames. 

Keeping Christmas trees hydrated keeps it resistant to flames for a longer time. 

Makinster gave a few more tips on fire safety for the holidays: 

  • Make sure Christmas tree lights are unplugged every night. 
  • Be aware of stockings hanging above a fireplace. Make sure it’s at least three to four feet away from hot surfaces. 
  • Be sure smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries are functional. 
  • Practice exit routes with family members and children so everybody knows how to exit the house in an emergency. 
  • Keep doors and hallways clear of clutter for emergency routes. 

“Have a meeting spot, maybe the neighbors house across the street,” Makinster said. 

But aside from fire safety, impaired driving is another avenue to steer away from. Makinster stressed the importance of planning ahead to avoid a preventable accident. 

“Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so if you’re only going to have a couple drinks, you’re still risking hurting somebody,” Makinster said. 

Officials strongly recommend those who are drinking to use ride services like Uber, Lyft, local taxis or designated drivers. 

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