State Officials Offer Holiday Safety Tips

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, December 18, 2006

What is the “tap test”? It’s when you pick the tree up and tap it on the ground. If a lot of pine needles drop off, it’s too dry. 

"These pine needles are brittle and they pull off very easily."  

Department of Consumer Affairs Director Charlene Zettel says dry trees are a major fire threat. And to show just how dangerous a dry tree can be technicians with Consumer Affairs torched one in their flammability testing lab in Sacramento. 

It goes up in flames in a matter of seconds and the temperature gets up to around 1,700 degrees. Assistant State Fire Marshal Kate Dargan says it’s also important this holiday season to check your smoke detector. She says a lot of people take the batteries out if they’ve been cooking and creating a lot of smoke, then they forget to put the batteries back in.

"Smoke detectors get uninstalled, the batteries get taken out of them, they become annoying and that is one of the reasons that we have those kinds of fatalities."

Dargan says besides avoiding dry trees and keeping your smoke detector working you should also keep electric space heaters away from anything flammable during these cold winter months.