Fire fighters issue warnings for the coming Christmas season

Cuerpo de Bombros file photo
Fire fighters would prefer not to have too many of these.

Structural fires have increased 26 percent between 2011 and 2012 with the most fires during the summer season between months December and April, according to a report by the Cuerpo de Bomberos.

According to the fire department, the number of fires jumped from 736 last year to 925 this year. The main cause of the fires were electrical problems.

As the holiday season approaches and persons prepare to decorate their homes for Christmas, shoot fireworks and roast tamales, the fire fighters have posted a few recommendations to keep persons safe.

The first thing firefighters want residents to do is make sure the electrical system of the house has a protection system. When placing Christmas lights around the house, persons should inspect each set and discard those which are damaged. If using extension cords, they should not be placed under or on top of materials such as carpets, rugs or curtains or behind or under furniture. This can cause shortages, said the department.

To avoid a fire from shorted lights in the night, lights should be turned off before going to bed. Also, they should be turned off if no one is home, they said.

The tradition of Christmas would not be complete without a Christmas tree. However, it also must be placed with caution in a location that is at least 1.5 meters away from heat sources, said firemen, adding:

Gifts under the tree need to be kept away from candles and electrical connections. On Christmas day, after gifts are opened, the wrappings should go in the trash. They should not be burned, cautioned firefighters.

Live trees should be placed in a container with at least 30 centimeters of water. After the holidays, the tree should be cut up and prepared for regular garbage collection.

Finally, ornaments with small pieces, electrical cords and fireworks should all be kept out of the reach of children, said firemen.

If an emergency should arise, persons are instructed to evacuate and call 911. Families should prepare and practice an evacuation plan in advance, they said.

“Prevention is the best way to avoid forest fires,” said spokespersons.

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