Press Release, Office of the State Fire Marshal

 STATEWIDE SAFETY RELEASE (December 17, 2018) — State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci reminds all residents of Maryland to check for fire safety where they live, work, attend classes, training and meetings.  “Fire and life safety is everyone’s responsibility; by testing smoke alarms and CO detectors, keeping exits clear of obstructions, and maintaining fire alarms and fire sprinkler systems, we can all avoid injury or death from the effects of fire.”

          To ensure your best chances of surviving a fire, the State Fire Marshal offers the following tips for an enjoyable and safe Holiday Season:    

Please ensure you have the chimney cleaned and inspected yearly before use. 

Having candles present during your Holiday celebrations is very festive.  However, never leave candles burning unattended.  Extinguish the flame before leaving the room.  Consider battery operated candles instead of flaming candles for safety.

While preparing the Holiday meals can be fun for all family members, prevent fires from starting on the stove by staying in the kitchen and monitoring the food as it is being prepared.  If a fire would occur in a pot or pan on the stove, calmly place a lid on it and turn off the burner.  Allow it to cool before removal from the stove.

If using a turkey fryer, please follow all safety precautions and manufacturer’s instructions.  NEVERput a frozen turkey in a fryer.  Make sure it has completely thawed.  

If you are using a cut tree for Christmas, special precautions need to be observed: Select a tree with green needles that do not remove too easily from the branches and the trunk should be sticky to the touch.  Place the tree in a location away from heat sources and add water  every day during the recommended two-week life span while on display.   Make sure the location of the tree does not block any exits in your home.  

Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.  Ensure candles are placed well away from tree branches.  The use of battery operated candles is a much safer alternative.

Dried out trees can ignite more readily.  Remove the tree shortly after the holiday and place outdoors for disposal.

Inspect holiday lighting for frayed or damaged wiring and check for cracked sockets.  Replace strands with new sets as they become worn.  Follow manufacturer’s guidelines when attaching additional strands.

Always unplug or switch off all holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.  Make sure you close the door to all occupied bedrooms before you fall asleep.  

Take down holiday lighting after the holidays.  Holiday lights are temporary seasonal decorations that should be limited to 30 days use.

If a fire occurs inside your home, close the doors behind you as you vacate to the outside, call 911 and never go back inside the home.  Tell arriving first responders if anyone is still inside.

Please enjoy a fire safe holiday season with your family and friends!