At a Holiday Safety press conference held at the Pasadena Fire Station No. 33 on Tuesday, Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez highlighted holiday dangers and Fire Chief Calvin Wells oversaw the burning of a Christmas tree as the pair offered tips on how to keep the holidays joyous and disaster-free.
â€œWhile shopping, make sure that you keep an eye on your children, that theyâ€™re in closeÂ proximity to you and should they get lost, at least have a dialogue with them in advance thatÂ they can report to security or contact a police officer or other safety officer in the shopping mallÂ to let them know that theyâ€™re lost and they need assistance,â€ Chief Sanchez advised.
He also said the public to be aware of their surroundings and not take safety for granted during the holidays.
â€œSafety starts with you. It starts with awareness. It starts with being in tuned with yourÂ shopping environment,â€ he added.
Chief Sanchez suggested shoppers carry light loads and not to ferry several packagesÂ back and forth to vehicles. More importantly, do not store packages in place view insideÂ the vehicles so as not to invite thieves.
It is also wise to carry less cash when shopping and consider using a debit card or a credit cardÂ when making purchases, Chief Sanchez said, and added that it is better to pick up packages atÂ delivery services instead of having them delivered at home.
He went on to say that thieves take advantage of opportunity situations to take your packagesÂ from the porch or resting spot â€“ just like the case of the â€œthieving Grinchâ€ who was caught onÂ tape stealing a package from a womanâ€™s porch in South Pasadena.
â€œIn all, really, the message that we want to share with viewers today is that awareness is the key to personal safety. Plug in 911 to your cell phones or the emergency number at the Pasadena Police Department which is (626) 744-4241,â€ Chief Sanchez concluded.
For his part, Fire Chief Calvin Wells gave tips on how to make homes safe from fire throughoutÂ the holiday.
â€œHome fires are of great concern particularly this time of year being that many people chooseÂ to decorate their home with Christmas trees. On the subject of Christmas tree safety, first andÂ foremost, it is absolutely imperative that you start out with a fresh tree,â€ Chief Wells advised.
When buying a tree from tree lot, Chief Wells told the public to make sure that the needles areÂ not dry and moist to the touch and do not easily fall off the tree. Also make make sure that theÂ needles do not pull off or assemble to the palm of your hand. It is also very important that youÂ insist on a fresh cut to the trunk of the tree and submerge that tree and water at the earliestÂ opportunity once you get it home.
â€œThat tree should also be watered daily to make sure that you keep it submerged throughoutÂ the holiday season. There are also a number of preservatives that are on the market you canÂ purchase that will help keep that tree fresh throughout the holidays. A dried out tree holds anÂ extreme fire hazard in the home,â€ he said.
In addition, it is important to keep the tree away from heating vents, portable heatingÂ appliances, and fireplace openings as they may be a source of drying that tree out, or worse, aÂ source of ignition, Chief Wells advised.
When lighting a tree, the public was told to use only approved and listed lighting for thatÂ particular use. Look for a tree lighting that has an underwriterâ€™s laboratory UL labeling orÂ factory mutual label to make sure that the product that you are using is approved for such use.Â Make sure that the insulation is intact. It is also better to start off with fresher lights for theÂ season rather than try to salvage lights that you had used in years past.
Do not overload your tree with too many strands of light and series that might result to fire.Â Any decorations that you place on the tree should be noncombustible in nature, the fire chiefÂ said.
He continued, â€œBe careful with candles in the home this time of year. You want to make sureÂ that candles, although theyâ€™re very festive, they need to be in a secure holder. Do not leaveÂ them unattended for a period of time. Do not fall asleep with candles burning and certainly,Â you donâ€™t want to leave home with a candle burning.â€
A working and operable smoke detector is also important throughout the holidays, Chief Wells reminded.
And lastly, Chief Wells advised the public to devise an escape plan in effect in yourÂ home, particularly during the Christmas season.