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Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is filled with family, joy, gift giving and colorful lights! However, it’s also the peak season for house fires, and opportunities for thieves to steal packages. To keep your family and your gifts safe, here are some holiday safety tips:

Christmas tree


Christmas Trees

The Boise Fire Department knows how important the tradition of a Christmas tree can be for the holiday season. But, despite the smell and the twinkling and shining lights, your tree can be a hazard.  Lights and other decorative lighting lead to 240 home fires on average each season and result in over a dozen deaths nationally. This video shows how quickly a tree can burn and spread.

Keep Your Tree Safe

  •   If decorating your home with a natural tree, be sure it is well-watered.
  • When selecting your tree, choose a local or self-cut tree, which should be fresher.
  • Check that your selected tree is not dried out. Needles should not break when bent, should be hard to pull from branches and no more than a few should fall off when the tree is tapped on the ground.
  • Be sure the cut end of the tree has sticky resin on it and have the seller to make a fresh cut to allow the tree to drink water better.
  • For the duration it is inside, be sure to water your tree daily or more frequently to keep it from drying out.

When lighting your tree, replace old lights with energy-efficient LED lights that use significantly less energy and emit less heat. As you unpack lights from last holiday season, check them for broken or damaged sockets and bulbs, exposed wires, or loose connections. When purchasing new lights, look for the “UL” symbol to ensure the lights have been tested by the Underwriters Laboratories for safety. Turn lights off when you leave or go to bed and keep lights and breakable ornaments out of reach of young children. Always connect three or fewer sets of lights into a single extension cord. Only use outdoor lights outside and indoor lights inside.

Christmas tree on fire


Fire Safety

  • If a fire occurs remember you and your loved ones are the most important thing. Don’t save your tree or presents. Get out!
  • Keep exits clear of the tree or furniture when making room for the tree.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
  • Minimize potential hot spots. Keep your tree out of corners and away from heating vents, radiators and fireplaces and potential fuel for the fire (tables, couches, chairs).
  • Dispose of your tree safely, do not keep it indoors for longer than two weeks and take it to a recycling or compost service; don’t burn branches.

Keep Your Packages Safe

package on doorstep


Package and Mail Theft

  • Track your packages and shipments.
  • If you can’t be home, have your package delivered to your work, a friend’s house or ask a neighbor to pick it up.
  • Be aware of suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Look for strange vehicles and individuals.  Call 208-377-6790 or 208-343-COPS to report suspicious activity. 

Shopping Safety

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Don’t be distracted by your phone, pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Keep your purse or wallet close.
  • Hide or remove packages in your vehicle.

Online Shopping Safety

  • Shop with companies you know.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited emails.
  • Use credit cards when possible.
  • Secure your computer (strong passwords, secure wi-fi, anti-virus software).

Published: November 29, 2018