UNION COUNTY, NJ - With the arrival of colder weather and the fast-approaching holiday season, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents to protect themselves, their families and their guests by following basic fire safety guidelines.

“During this time of year there tends to be a greater use of candles, open fires, and other sources of fire,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski. “All residents should take note of potential fire hazards in their homes, and take any steps necessary to reduce their risks.”            

Basic fire safety tips for residents to follow include:

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  • Emergency generators used during power outages must be placed outdoors and away from windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning can also result when household cooking stoves, grills, and other open flamed devices are used for indoor heating.
  • Caution should be exercised when using candles or kerosene lamps for lighting. Place them on a flat, stable surface that pets or small children can’t reach, and keep them well away from drapes, papers, and other fire hazards.
  • Holiday decorations with electrical components should be examined for frayed wiring or insufficient wire covering that could allow for sparks or short circuit fires.
  • Fireplaces and wood stoves should be inspected before use each year. Chimneys should be cleaned to remove creosote, which can ignite and start a chimney fire. Always use a tempered glass or metal screen over the fireplace opening to keep sparks inside.
  • Never use papers, trash or liquid fuel in a fireplace or woodstove. Burn only wood and wood pellets.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from fireplaces, space heaters radiators and wood stoves.
  • Turn off any space heaters when leaving the room and make certain they are well maintained and cleaned.
  • Keep natural Christmas trees well hydrated as dry Christmas trees can ignite when exposed to the heat radiating from holiday light strings.
  • Store any canned cooking sprays away from the stove, especially during cooking and baking.
  • Test all smoke alarms and replace batteries with fresh ones.

For more information and guidance on fire safety, visit the Fire Prevention and Public Education page at FEMA, usfa.fema.gov/prevention.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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