The Chief’s Corner

By Robert W. Seltzer, BSEE, EFO, MPA Chief Smithfield Fire Dept.

On behalf of the men and women of the Smithfield Fire Department, happy holidays and hoping you all have a healthy and prosperous new year.

We here at the Fire Department are grateful for all of the support that we receive throughout the year and thank all of you who have taken the time to recognize our service to the community by sending us wonderful thank you notes as well as many well wishes expressed in the local newspaper. It is our pleasure to serve all of you.

As we all go about enjoying this holiday season, remember that accidents still occur. To remain safe over the holiday weeks, keep in mind the following tips.

Carefully inspect holiday light strings each year and discard any with frayed cords, cracked lamp holders, or loose connections. When replacing bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.
Try to purchase a freshly cut tree, as they are more resistant to ignition. Keep your Christmas tree watered and away from open candles.
When purchasing light strings, extension cords, spotlights, electrical decorations, gas appliances, or carbon monoxide alarms, look for the certification mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure that the products comply with applicable standards for safety and performance.
When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters. Use insulated tape or plastic clips instead of metal nails or tacks to hold them in place.
Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.
To help prevent CO hazards in your home, have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating seasons.
Do not store combustible materials such as gasoline, propane, paper, chemicals, paint, rags, and cleaning products near your gas furnace. Gasoline or propane cylinders should be stored outside the home.

From all of us, to all of you, have a safe and happy holiday season.