The holidays are a time meant for sharing joy with loved ones in an environment as stress-free as possible, which means controlling and minimizing risks that could make it unsafe. Given its dedication to public safety, Summit offers these pointers to help you and your family enjoy the season using the peace of mind that comes from making smart decisions.

When it comes to holiday decorating, fire prevention is key. According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2009 to 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 860 house fires per year that began with holiday decorations, and an additional 210 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees.

To minimize the dangers of fire and keep your homes safe this holiday season, please remember to:

•    Keep decorations, lights, and any flammable items at least three feet away from open flame and heat sources;
•    Inspect all decorations and lights to ensure they do not have frayed or pinched wires;
•    Discard any worn decorations or lights;
•    Always turn off decorations and lights when sleeping or leaving home;
•    Make sure any decorations, lights, or Christmas trees do not block foot traffic or doorways;
•    Keep natural trees hydrated daily;
•    Discard trees that have dry needles or that are dropping needles;
•    Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.

For winter safety indoors beyond the holidays, Summit suggests using the usual care when installing or using appliances, cooking, or heating your home:

•    Never leave a space heater unattended – it is best to turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep;
•    Never let pets or children play too close to a space heater;
•    Never leave cooking equipment unattended – turn off burners if you have to leave the room;
•    In case of a power outage, don’t run generators inside;
•    Install carbon monoxide and smoke alarms on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area;
•    Be sure to test the alarms once a month and change batteries annually.

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year, but you can give yourself some relief by taking simple steps and making a commitment to safety that will make the holidays – and the entire year – brighter and merrier.

Summit Natural Gas of Maine is proud to bring natural gas service to communities in southern and central Maine. To learn about our service areas, more information about natural gas or tips on how you can help reduce your carbon footprint, visit or “like” us on Facebook.

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