Chief Mark A. Johnson is the Interim Fire Chief. Chief Johnson's vision for the Fresno-Kings Unit and Fresno County Fire Protection District is to provide the highest level of service to the citizens of Fresno County through the professional abilities of our employees, efficient and cost effective programs, innovative ideas and methods, technological improvements, and continued development of cooperative...
By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.
Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
Caring for Your Tree
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
Maintain Your Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.
Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.
Artificial Christmas Trees
If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
Avoid Using Lit Candles
If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree
Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.
With the cold weather finally among us, residence will be looking for many ways to keep warm. Here are a few safety tips that may save your life!
Carbon monoxide/Smoke detectors
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. This colorless, odorless, poisonous gas kills nearly 500 U.S. residents each year.
Install battery-operated CO and smoke alarms in your home.
Locate CO alarms outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
Locate smoke alarms on each level of the house and inside every bedroom.
Replace smoke and CO alarm batteries when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and check batteries monthly.
If an alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.
Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn-including furniture, blankets, curtains, and paper products.
Choose space heaters that turn off automatically if they tip over.
Never use a space heater to dry clothing.
Turn off space heaters before you go to bed.
In a kerosene heater, use only the proper fuel. Check with the local fire department to make sure kerosene heaters are allowed in your community.
Refuel a heater outside, after it has cooled.
Fireplaces and wood stoves
Have a service person inspect and clean your chimney or wood stove each year.
Use a metal or glass fireplace screen to keep sparks from hitting nearby carpets or furniture.
Keep air inlets on wood stoves open.
Keep kindling, paper, and dιcor away from fireplaces and wood stoves.
Never use gas or lighter fluid to start a fireplace or wood stove.
Burn only seasoned hardwood. Burning soft, moist wood causes a lot of creosote build-up and can cause a chimney fire.
Don't burn cardboard boxes, newspaper, or trash. They burn too hot and can cause a chimney fire.
Be sure vent pipes extend at least 3 feet above the roof.
Install stovepipe thermometers to check flue temperatures.
Follow manufacturer's instructions for installing and maintaining fireplaces and wood stoves.
Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by Certified Chimney Sweep business. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.
Keep the top of chimneys clear of tree limbs or debris.
Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney. Always use a screen around the fireplace to keep sparks from flying out and to protect children and adults from accidental clothing ignition.
Always open the damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. This will avert the build-up of poisonous gases, such as carbon monoxide.
Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire because the vapors can explode. Never keep flammable fuels near a fire. Vapors can travel the length of a room and explode.
Do not overload the fireplace. Large fires can lead to overheating of wall or roof materials, particularly if the fireplace is constructed of metal.
Warn children about the danger of fire. Do not let them play with fire. Always make sure that the fire is completely extinguished before going to bed for the night or when leaving the house.
Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
Alternative Heating Fire Facts
More than one third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves, and other fuel-burning appliances to heat their homes.
Nearly 36,000 fires and 250 deaths occur each year from portable heaters, fireplaces, and chimneys.
Heating is the second leading cause of home fires.
Fireplaces and chimneys are the number one source of home heating equipment fires.
Portable space heaters are the top cause of fire deaths from home heating equipment.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan. The goal of our Early Detection Program is for every home to have at least one working smoke detector. If you are a resident of the Fresno County Fire Protection District and need a smoke detector please contact us at 559-493-4300.