Get Alarmed

Christmas Tree Fire Safety

It’s Time to be Alarmed! 

This time of year it is very easy to forget about fire safety.  Consequently, this time of year is when we are at most risk for accidental fires.  Americans spend more time indoors, run heating equipment; burn more candles, and cook more.  Then, something crazy happens in December…..

Millions of trees are cut down, and these trees make a week and a half journey without water to small lots all over the nation.  There they sit, again without any moisture, for another week or two, and wait for a family to adopt them.  Family takes the adopted tree home, and this is when it turns horrifying…..

The “Fresh Cut” adopted tree is then placed in the living rooms or family rooms of our homes.  We then pull lights out of a cardboard box that we have stored in the attic, shed or basement.  Of course, these lights are manufactured in countries where the quality and safety of the product are valued more than the profit.  The strands are retrieved from the cardboard box that was stored in proper condition and environment per the manufacturers recommendations to ensure that the light strings are never frayed or cracked.  Now that we have 600 to 800 110v bulbs of beauty on our adopted tree, we make it even more festive!  We place packages of cardboard wrapped in highly combustible and very thin paper all around this tree! {End Sarcasm}

Now, I don’t want to come off as being the Scrooge of the season.  This is one of my favorite times of year.  No, it’s not because I have usually written off another season for the Detroit Lions….Not because we are that much closer to the NFL Draft day….Not because we have had four (That’s right…4) games IN A ROW where my beloved Detroit Lions have had substantial leads, only to throw the game away….{Sorry, I will get this article back on track…I’m not bitter about this season or anything}  Ok, where were we? Ahh, yes…It is my favorite time of year, because we get to spend time with friends and family!  (Of course, it would make the time we spend with friends and family more special,  IF the Lions were in playoff contention, but….I digress.)

So what can you do to protect your family and loved ones this time of year?  You can start by ensuring that if you have a real tree in the home, that you keep it watered twice daily.  How flammable is a dry christmas tree?  You can also purchase a fire retardant spray for real Christmas trees, or even Make Your Own!  Don't use candles on live christmas trees!  Don't over load circuits in your home trying to beautify your adopted or artificial tree.  If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, its trying to tell you something!  Use a surge protector, but don't daisy chain the surge protectors.  Don't use a CHEAP surge protector.  There is a reason its cheap!

Ensure that you have smoke alarms that ARE NOT EXPIRED!  WHAT?  They expire?  YES!  They do expire!  Smoke alarms should be replaced once every 10 years.  ALL manufacturers of ALL smoke alarms require that you replace smoke alarms every 10 years.  Be sure that you have fresh batteries in your smoke alarms!  Even though you may have hardwired alarms, the batteries should be replaced once every year, twice a year for battery operated alarms.  Not sure what kind you have?  Call me.  I can come out and help you figure it out.  Here is the best part….IT’S FREE!  Not sure what to give that hard to buy for person in your family?  Give smoke alarms!  How about a carbon monoxide alarm?  How about both?  Their life may depend on it. 

In 2013, the Hartland Area Fire Department will be launching our ‘Get Alarmed 24/7/365’ program.  It is our goal in 2013 to ensure that a MINIMUM of 365 families’ smoke alarms are tested within our community!  Our ultimate goal down the road is to ensure that every home in Hartland and Deerfield Townships have a working smoke alarm on every level of the home.

I will be coming back often to advise of the status of this initiative, as well as provide useful tips and facts that you can use to help protect yourself and your family.  In the meantime, if you or somebody you know is in need of a battery operated smoke alarm, please DO NOT HESITATE to contact the Hartland Area Fire Department at 810-632-7676.  They are FREE, and we will even help you install it….FOR FREE.  We don’t care what you drive, how big, small, or type of home you live in, or what your financial situation is….If you need a smoke alarm, and you don’t have the means to purchase one for yourself, or you don't know what to buy, don’t wait another minute!  Just call 810-632-7676.


Yours In Fire Safety,

Michael R. Bernardin

Fire Marshal – Hartland Area Fire Department

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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