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Tips for Holiday Safety

Good afternoon –
I’d like to share some holiday safety information from Redwood City’s Fire Department and Police Department. First, some holiday and Christmas tree fire safety; and second, some holiday shopping safety tips. All of this information will help to ensure you and your family have a safe, happy holiday. thanks ~ malcolm

Holiday and Christmas Tree Fire Safety


  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If   you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall  off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 1-2″ from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to  water it daily.
  • Make  sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and is at least three feet   away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters,  radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
  • Use  lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or  outdoor use.
  • Replace   any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb  connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, remove the tree from your home. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard      and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed  outside the home.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
  • Consider  using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles. However, if you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12″ away from anything that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the      room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces. Avoid using candles in the bedroom.

Burns and Scalds

  • Most burns associated with cooking equipment, cookware, and tableware are not caused by fire or flame. In 2009, ranges or ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Microwaves are a leading cause of scald burns.
  • Be  extra careful when opening a heated food container. Heat food in containers that are marked ‘microwave safe.’ Since foods heat unevenly in the microwave, make sure you stir and test the food before eating.

Children and cooking safety:

  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove, and around where food and drink are being prepared or carried.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table or counter edges.
  • Use the stove’s back burners if you have young children in the home.
  • Never hold a child while cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.

For more tips on how to prevent a holiday fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website at Additional information on home fire safety for the  holidays is also available from the National Fire Protection Association  (NFPA) website .   More information on how to make your home “fire-safe” is available from the Redwood City Fire Department at 650-780-7400 or


Holiday Shopping Safety

With the holiday season such a hectic time of year, people tend to forget that they must be aware of their surroundings while shopping. Please take a moment to ensure that you and your family remain safe and have great holiday season.


  • Carry only small amounts of cash
  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible-or go with a friend if you shop at night (or the pre-dawn sales).
  • Carry keys, credit cards and cash separate from each other.
  • Be extremely careful and watchful when using ATM machines.
  • Wear conservative, comfortable clothing, and minimal jewelry.
  • Carry a cell phone, if you have one.
  • While driving, keep your doors locked and windows rolled up – including in the parking lot.
  • Maintain at least half a tank of fuel


  • If you have to carry a purse, carry it close to your body and keep it zipped.
  • Park close to where you are going and park in a well-lit area.
  • Heighten your awareness – be aware of your surroundings and who is nearby.
  • Grip carried items firmly and do not leave them unattended.
  • Do not overload yourself with packages to maintain visibility and freedom of motion, and to avoid mishaps
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • When hurried or in a crowded shop, make sure you get all forms of ID and credit cards returned to you before leaving.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen.
  • Keep a record of all credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Keep a close eye on children while shopping.


  • Leave the mall before closing time; it is safer to walk out of the mall with other people.
  • Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distraction with the intent of taking your money or belongings.
  • Use an escort or mall security if you have a lot of packages or if you are leaving the mall after closing.
  • When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible.
  • Check under your car as you approach it; this is a common spot for criminals to hide.
  • Check the interior of your car before entering.


  • After opening gifts, break down cardboard boxes of expensive electronics and put them in plastic bags to hide the fact you have new high-value items in your home.

Wishing you a very safe and happy holiday season, from the City of Redwood City!


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