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CFO Sink Offers Floridians Fire Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

12/22/2009

CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Jennifer Hirst, (850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink today announced precautions to take this holiday season, encouraging Floridians to protect themselves and their families with proactive fire safety measures. 

Many citizens like to celebrate the holiday season by decorating their homes and businesses, but unfortunately some decorations can be fire hazards.  Each year fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 Americans, injure 1,650 more, and cause over $990 million in damage according to the U.S. Fire Administration. 

“We don’t want anyone’s home to become one of these statistics this holiday season,” said CFO Sink.  “I encourage everyone to take extra precautions to avoid a holiday tragedy, and I wish all Floridians a safe and happy holiday season.”

To view a video of CFO Sink’s comments from her press conference on holiday fire safety, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRFv2C3OHVU.

Each year State Fire Marshal Sink provides safety tips around the holidays to remind Floridians of the seriousness of fire damages in an effort to protect our citizens. Simple life-saving steps Floridians can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday include:

-- Dry Christmas trees are dangerous fire hazards -- make sure you buy a fresh tree with needles that are green and hard to pull back from the branches.

-- Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.

-- Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks, and make sure you keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

-- Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.

-- Do not overload electrical outlets or link more than three light strands.  Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch.

-- All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.

-- Avoid using lit candles, but if you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down.

-- Never put lit candles on a tree or leave lit candles unattended.
               
As State Fire Marshal, CFO Sink and her Division holds numerous educational seminars and training throughout the year.  The Bureau of Fire Prevention annually inspects more than 16,000 public and private buildings including public schools, university facilities and adult living facilities; enforcing regulations regarding the handling of explosives materials, boiler safety, and fire system installation contractors to ensure public safety.  For more information and fire safety tips, visit CFO Sink’s State Fire Marshal web site at http://www.MyFloridaCFO.com/sfm.  

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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, CFO Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services.  A successful businesswoman with nearly three decades of experience in the private sector, Sink is serving her first term as Florida's CFO.  As CFO, Sink's priorities include using her business experience to cut wasteful government spending, cracking down on financial and insurance fraud and reforming the state government's contracting practices. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.