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Press Releases / 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2003


"During this holiday season as well as throughout the year, our primary message, first, last and always is prevention. If you remove the fire hazards from your home you can limit the risk to yourself, your family, your neighbors and to firefighters,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. “Over the last few years, candles have become more and more popular. Sales are up and unfortunately, so are the number of candle fires and candle-related fire deaths. If you must use candles, use them safely. By following a few simple safety procedures New Yorkers can stay safe and enjoy a joyous holiday season."

  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector on every level of your home.
  • Choose a freshly cut tree. LIVE TREES NEED WATER! Check and refill often.
  • Cut a few inches off the trunk before placing in water.
  • When your tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
  • Keep your tree away from heat sources, sparks or flames.
  • Do not leave Christmas tree lights on while unattended.
  • Avoid accidents by using wire or cord to secure your tree to the wall or ceiling (this will prevent it from toppling over by small children or pets).
  • Check all light sets prior to use. Do not use damaged light sets or extension cords.
  • Avoid overloading the connections.
  • Use only Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved lights on your tree, and NO CANDLES.
  • Promptly remove all discarded packages and wrappings from the home.
  • Never burn wrappings in the fireplace or wood stove.
  • Use only non-combustible decorations
  • If you use candles, make sure they are in stable holders on a flat stable surface and create a 1-foot circle of safety surrounding them
  • NEVER leave the house with candles burning
  • NEVER leave children or pets unattended with a lit candle (the candle can easily be knocked over)
  • NEVER use candles near combustible materials such as curtains, drapes, bedding and or cabinets.

Visit the Fire Zone's website at or the Department's website at

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / David Billig (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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