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Seasonal Fire Safety Tips
At special times of the year, such as the Fourth of July and Christmas, special consideration must be given to your surroundings so that you have an enjoyable and safe experience. Here are some things for you to think about as you prepare for these special occasions.
Begin Daylight Savings Time
This is an easy way of remembering to change the batteries in your smoke detector. Batteries should be changed twice a year to assure that your smoke detector will be ready to work if you have a fire. You should check your smoke detector monthly, even if it has new batteries.
Summers in Mendocino County are generally quite hot and dry. Because of the terrain and vegetation, the fire services of the County declare that there will be no general outside burning from approximately June through September. The City of Ukiah has an ordinance regarding burning within the city limits, which prohibits outdoor burning year-around. Excepted are recreational fires in family dwellings, and strictly-controlled burning operations for hazard reduction in urban-wildland interface areas.
The Fourth-of-July is always a time for festivity, and the Ukiah Fire Department encourages everyone to enjoy this special time and attend locally-sponsored fireworks events. There is a general restriction on the possession or use of any type of fireworks throughout Mendocino County. Fireworks are prohibited! Legal action can be taken for anyone selling, possessing or using fireworks anywhere in the County.
End Daylight Savings Time
This is the second reminder of the year to change your smoke detector batteries. With the holidays coming, it’s easy to forget. And the holidays can be one of the most critical times of the year for fire in the home. Batteries are cheap–human lives are not!
Thanksgiving indicates that Christmas is just around the corner, and it is shortly after this holiday that many people will purchase their Christmas tree. Please plan ahead by reading the information below on preparations and activities surrounding this time of the year.
Christmas trees, lights, decorations–this is truly a festive and special time of the year. But it is also a time when we introduce an increased fire hazard into our homes, and a time which can be extremely sad should a fire occur. Most businesses are required to have Christmas trees and decorations which are flame-resistant treated, or of living or artificial materials. The same reasoning for these requirements should be considered in homes. Cut trees can dry out quite rapidly in the heat and low humidity of homes in winter. Christmas trees, while they may appear to be green, can be become very dry and easily ignited. These trees can literally become huge balls of fire, being completely consumed in a matter of seconds. This rapid fire can spread throughout an area with such speed that occupants do not have an opportunity to react and escape. A few simple considerations are offered: place only the freshest and most recently cut tree; cut 1-inch off the bottom of the tree before placing; be sure the tree base is well into the water supply; water the tree every day (a large tree can drink up to one gallon of water per day); limit the use of lights on trees, and never use candles on trees; check your tree for dryness–if the needles are falling off, its too dry and should be replaced. When Christmas is over, it’s time for your tree to go. And never burn wrappings in your fireplace–they can be placed with paper recyclables.
Winters in Ukiah can get quite cold. When this happens, people tend to automatically turn up the thermostat, or put more wood on the fire. Some consideration should be given to the effect of this increased heating on the structure of your building. Heating appliances which operate for extended periods of time can in fact build up high temperatures, but this also stresses the equipment, and heats up combustibles in immediate proximity to the appliance. It is not uncommon for the Fire Department to have an increase in fires occurring in walls and attics during these periods due to the structural components being heated to points that these fires occur. For those buildings with fire sprinkler systems, assurance should be made that the exterior portions of these systems are properly insulated or provided with antifreeze materials, or that interior portions are insulated or heated to prevent breakage of the system due to freeze conditions.