Sunday 5 July, 2020

Fire officer issues warning about Christmas trees, candles and fires

Fake Christmas tree decorations

Fake Christmas tree decorations

- by Katrina King

Take caution so that your Christmas tree doesn’t become a fire hazard! 

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the charity - Bajan Fire Fighters, Glyne Alleyne, is encouraging locals to maintain their real Christmas trees during this yuletide season. Alleyne, a fire officer in the Barbados Fire Service with 23 years of experience, advised the public to water their Christmas trees because they were in danger of being flammable. 

“Unfortunately many Barbadians do not understand the care for live Christmas trees as opposed to an artificial one. With a live tree you must water that tree every day with a pint of water otherwise the tree will dry out very fast . . . anything that is hot can cause the tree to burst into flames so having Christmas lights on that tree while it is drying out, you actually have a fire so persons must understand you must water that tree every day with a pint of water to slow down the actual drying out process,” he cautioned. 

Alleyne also revealed that the primary cause of fires during the yuletide season was overheated plugs. While acknowledging there has been a decrease in the number of fires for 2019, Alleyne highlighted that some individuals have not adhered to the warnings by the BFS against the overloading of circuits. 

“People do it without thinking . . . put up all these lights and you don’t give any thought to what the actual fire load is or rating for those lights. The first thing that will happen is that the actual light string gets very warm and the actual plugs get very hot and that is a clear indicator that something is going wrong,” he explained. 

“Once that plug is getting very hot you are either at the point of overloading it or you already have,” Alleyne continued. 

The veteran fire officer urged the public to be vigilant with open flames. He noted the rising popularity of scented candles and cautioned against having them near curtains. Alleyne also warned the public about the dangers of leaving a stove unattended as individuals hurriedly completed their Christmas chore. He indicated that lapse in judgment can lead to a potential catastrophe. 

“We are asking persons to be really, really mindful at this time of the year because it is a time where calamity seems to strike.”

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