MILLBURN, NJ - As we celebrate the 2016 holiday season, the Millburn Fire Department is reminding community residents to observe holiday safety guidelines.

"While this is always a joyous time of year, preventable tragedies can and do happen,” said Millburn Fire Chief J. Michael Roberts.  “Residents can safeguard their homes and families this holiday season by following these common-sense safety recommendations.” 

Among the Department’s suggestions for holiday safety:

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  • Use candles responsibly and under supervision.  Always avoid leaving burning candles unattended, or placing them near curtains, paper, or combustible decorations. Recently, Target issued a recall warning for a plastic menorah, sold in its stores, after reports that the decoration could melt after the candles were lit. In recent years, a variety of safer battery-operated candles with realistic “flames” have hit the market.
  • Electric decorations, including lights and candelabras, have become much safer over the years — but precautions should still be taken. More than a third of Christmas tree fires are as a result of issues with electric lights. Lights and cords should be inspected, and decorations that will be exposed to outdoor weather should be plugged into three-prong (ground fault-interrupted) receptacles to prevent the risk of fire and electric shock. 
  • When purchasing electric decorations in a store or online, make sure they feature the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification symbol.
  • Real Christmas trees should be freshly cut and not dry.  The tree should be kept in water that is replenished regularly, and trees should never be placed near a flame or heat source.
  • Fireplaces should be inspected periodically, and flues and chimneys should be cleaned annually.  Only dry and seasoned hardwood should be burned.

“As a reminder, the Fire Department offers free safety surveys of local homes,” said Chief Roberts. "We'll point out potential hazards and provide tips and guidance to keep residents safe as winter approaches." 

The idea to begin offering the safety surveys came after the Stanford, Connecticut fire of Christmas Day 2010, which tragically claimed the lives of three young girls and their grandparents. Millburn-Short Hills residents interested in scheduling a survey can contact the Department, at (973) 564-7043.