Huber Ridge Area

Fire Safety Tips from Battalion Chief John Bokros - Christmas trees and lights


As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.




Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the
home. Check with your 
local community to
find a recycling program.  Bring outdoor electrical 
lights inside 
after the holidays to
prevent hazards and 
make them last longer.


>>>If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.

>>> Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. 

>>> Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk.

>>> Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

>>> Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

>>>Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

>>> Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

>>> Replace any string of lights with worn or broken 
cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no 
more than three strands of mini string sets and a 
maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.

>>> Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

>>> Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. 

Your Source for SAFETY Information

                 Westerville Division of Fire













Lightning Safety

Outside and other fires accounted for 78% of the lightning fires reported to local fire departments.

• Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles from any rainfall.

Outdoor Safety

>>> If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Look for shelter inside a home, large building, or a hard-topped vehicle right away. Do not go under tall trees for shelter. There is no place outside that is safe during a thunderstorm. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before leaving your shelter.

>>> Stay away from windows and doors.

>>> If you are in or on open water, go to land and seek shelter immediately.

>>> If you feel your hair stand on end, that means lightning is about to trike, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact with the ground. Do not lie flat on the ground. This is a last resort when a building or hard-topped vehicle is not available.

If a person is struck by lightning, call 9-1-1 and get medical care immediately. Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge; attend to them immediately. Check their breathing, heartbeat, and pulse. CPR may be needed.

Indoor Safety

>>> Unplug appliances and other electrical items, like computers, and turn off air conditioners. If you are unable to unplug them, turn them off.  Stay off corded phones, computers, and other electronic equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing.  Avoid washing your hands, bathing, doing laundry, or washing dishes.

Posted by bambi on 08/03/2009
Last updated on 02/18/2010
Blendon Township, Ohio 43081

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