First published in the Dec. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda is reminding community members to be cautious during this time of year, which can be both festive and fraught with potential fire risks.
Poorly maintained and haphazardly placed holiday decorations can increase the chance of home fires during the month of December, when candles and electric lights are more common, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The San Marino Fire Department cautions residents that faulty or old electrical cord, broken bulbs, frayed wires or simply knocking a Christmas tree over all have the potential to cause fires.
“Christmas trees can ignite very quickly because of the combination of a combustible tree, presents, decorations and furnishings,” Rueda said. “Such fires can double in size every 30 seconds.”
Often these kinds of fires happen at night, according to Rueda. He said residents should check their smoke detectors and keep doors closed while sleeping, because “that can be the difference between life and death this holiday season.”
Rueda also urged residents to pay attention to things that might seem obvious but are still overlooked like keeping Christmas trees away from heat sources like fireplaces, space heaters and vents. He also recommends keeping a safe distance between pets and decorations, including menorahs and trees.
“While firefighting has saved a number of lives, fire prevention and safety can be the key difference between living a comfortable life or a potentially dangerous one,” Rueda said.
The SMFD offers an in-home fire prevention inspection for residents through the Operation Fire Safe program. Firefighters come to participants’ homes and help ensure it is safe, according to the fire chief.
To request a fire safety inspection, residents can contact the SMFD at (626) 300-0735.