Staying safe during the holidays

Golden Fire Chief Ken McClure shares his views on how to have a safe and happy Christmas season.

Though the Christmas season is one filled with family, friends and many great times it is also a time of year to be careful of fire and other dangers during the season. Golden Fire Chief Ken McClure took some time to explain what some of the hazards are during this season and what people can do to be safer during the holiday season.

“One of the things that I want to make sure that people understand is about drinking and driving. It is the holiday season and is time for families and friends. Lots of times people will be partaking in alcoholic beverages. We have to do this smart. We have to have our designated drivers and make sure we are not drinking and driving,” McClure said. “It is a time for family and we don’t want to lose anyone in our family. I think extended families come in to that as well. I feel blessed here in Golden because we have been accepted into the community. I have 25 firefighters right now and that is an extended family. I want them to feel free to call me at anytime of the day or night to get people home.”

The chief also pointed out the financial hit people suffer from drinking and driving is another reason not to get behind the wheel after having drinks.

McClure said that things are getting safer over the years around the Christmas season but people still have to be careful.

“I think we have moved mostly away from the lit candles on Christmas trees now. There have been some instances of people who still put candles on the trees. It may be nice for an old-fashioned Christmas but it is one of the worst things you can do. If you have a live Christmas tree make sure that you keep it well watered. Also limit the time that you have the lights on, and when you are leaving the house or going to bed, turn those lights off,” he said.

Another area of concern for the chief is the effectiveness of smoke alarms in houses. “Make sure smoke alarms are working on all floors of the house and that batteries are up to date so that you will get a prewarning if anything should happen.

Burning Christmas paper is also a dangerous activity.

“After the big event at Christmas people take their wrapping paper and shove it into their wood stoves or fireplaces. That is probably one of the worst things you can do. I know Christmas paper is hard to recycle but if you burn it up in your chimney, you can ignite your chimney from that paper,” McClure said.

He went on to explain that during power outages many people use candles when there is a safer source of light to be found.

“Make sure that your flashlights have fresh batteries in them. As soon as the power goes out people light candles and we do have structure fires due to candles. Keep candles out of the hands of children.”

Slips and falls also can injure people during the winter season.

“This time of the year when you are out shovelling that snow be very careful of your footing. I don’t know about you but when I fall now I don’t bounce up as easily as I used to,” McClure said.

In the end, the chief wanted to wish everyone a safe Christmas and hopes that everyone enjoys a wonderful Christmas season.