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Public Safety: Hidden Holiday Hazards

Fireworks safety celebrating New Years

Winter and holiday fire safety

Facts about home holiday fires

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four of Christmas tree fires.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.
  • One-third of all candle fires start in the bedroom.
  • Open burning is not permitted in the city limits. Watch our public safety video for details.

Safe alternatives

It’s fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.

  • Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.
  • Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
  • If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders, and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  • Hannukah candles should be kept away from decorations, furniture, and curtains.

Holiday Shopping

As we are all getting into the holiday shopping season, St. Augustine Police Department wants to offer a few suggests to help keep things safe this year.

  • Park your car where there is heavy foot and vehicle traffic: Don't isolate yourself, making yourself vulnerable to being an easy target.
  • Shop Light: Before you head out for the day, take only what you need for shopping. Leave any extra items at home that you don't need. By carrying only what you need for shopping, you will feel less tired from lugging extra stuff around.
  • Keep Moving: Do you stow your gifts in the trunk between stores? How about moving your car across the parking lot to finish your shoppin? When you are finished shopping at one store and return to your car to place items in your trunk, don't expect them to be safe - Many times a thief is sitting in their own car watching shoppers return to their cars.

    Some shoppers who are not finished shopping will lock their treasures in the car and go back into the store. Now the bad guy knows that you have just placed new items into your trunk. The bad guy has no idea you are just moving your car and not heading home.
  • Shop with friends: Not only is it more fun with a friend, but it’s safer, too.
  • Know Before You Go: Have your list ready to go when the doors open, so you can focus on what you need and then get out. When you get in quickly and finish, you’re out of the shopping chaos, leaving other shoppers to feel the frustration. This will keep YOU more alert, less tired, and enjoying the day.
  • Hide the Suprises: Not only from the people getting the gifts, but from the peeking eyes of the public. Once you are home with all those fun presents for the kids and grandkids, keep them out of sight for the public to see and away from the windows too. It's as simple as this: Out of sight, out of mind. Less temptation for someone to break-in and steal.
  • Hide the Evidence: When the big day is over and the trash is at the curb, this is the time that the bad guy comes back driving around looking at all of the big ticket items in our trash. Tear those boxes into small pieces so they will fit into a black trash bag, this way our bad guy has no idea what gifts were given at your home.