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State Fire Marshal Alex Sink Issues Holiday Fire Safety Precautions


Kevin Cate or Jayme O’Rourke
(850) 413-2842      
TALLAHASSEE — Today Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Alex Sink joined Tallahassee City Fire Marshal Chief John Gatlin and local firefighters from the Tallahassee Fire Department to provide holiday fire safety tips to Floridians. Every year, fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 Americans, injure 1,600 more, and cause over $990 million in damage.
“Florida is such a wonderful place for friends and family to visit during the holidays, but it’s also important amidst the excitement to take extra precautions this time of year,” said State Fire Marshal Sink. “All it takes is something very quick, like a candle left unattended or a turkey-frying novice, to turn a holiday tradition into a potential fire hazard.”
The most important tips State Fire Marshal Sink urges are:
• Make sure smoke detectors are working.
• Have a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place inside the home.
• Keep fresh Christmas trees thoroughly watered.
• Purchase only nonflammable artificial trees and nonflammable decorations.
• When decorating a tree, check each set of lights and throw out or return any damaged sets. Don’t use more than three strands of lights per extension cord.
• Use insulated staples or hooks for outdoor lights.
• Never leave holiday lights on unattended.
• Make sure candles are in stable holders and never leave the house with candles burning.
• Do not approach a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters, or matches.
• Plug space heaters directly into the wall outlet, not with an extension cord.
• Before using a fireplace, make sure the chimney flue is open so carbon monoxide gas can escape.
State Fire Marshal Sink also encourages Floridians to visit her website,, for additional fire safety tips and information from the Division of the State Fire Marshal.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.