Holiday safety tips

By Chris Davis | Contributor

It is holiday time and with all the excitement and activities, here are a few home safety reminders to keep you and your family members safe…and they might even prevent you from having us visit your home over the holidays!


On Dec. 13, the families of Charlotte were visited by Santa Claus at the Firehouse. Approximately 40 children and their families were there–a slightly smaller turnout than in past years. Santa rode in on top of the fire truck this year and saved the day by putting out a fire in front of the building. Once the fire was out, he was escorted inside by his two helpful elves, and kids had the chance to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Some popular wishes were remote control cars and helicopters, sporting gear, and stuffed animals.

Over the years we have responded to all of these types of emergencies:

Test your smoke detectors for operation; change the batteries if you have not done it yet this year.

Have a wired-in alarm system tested and/or serviced by a professional at least once a year to prevent unnecessary false alarms.

Install at least one CO (carbon monoxide) detector in your home. The plug-in type with numeric readout and battery backup is recommended. These devices have saved lives here in Charlotte. State law requires one in every residential unit. Test it several times per year.

If your present smoke or CO detectors are older than seven years, replace them. New smoke detectors should be the photoelectric type, which has been shown to detect smoke from fires more quickly than the ionization types. One detector for every level of your home is a minimum, one for every bedroom is recommended. For more information please go to the State Fire Marshal’s website,

Have your chimney inspected and cleaned. Have your heating appliance serviced if it has not been done in the past 12 months. A chimney fire may damage your flue or stovepipe requiring replacement. If a chimney fire occurs, or you think something is not right with your stove or chimney while it is in use, call 911 immediately.

Inspect holiday lighting and extension cords for frayed cords or cracked sockets. Never leave your home with indoor holiday lights lit.


One of Santa’s elves, Corinne Steel, has her own wish for this Christmas. Having recently moved to Charlotte from San Francisco, Steel hopes to learn more about farming. Steel is a nutritionist who states that no one in California really understands how important buying local food is. To truly understand this herself, Steel moved to Vermont where many people believe nutrition and locally grown foods are essential to living a healthy life. Photos: Madison Hakey and Chris Davis

Please do not overload electrical circuits or receptacles and/or extension cords. If your electrical breakers trip more than once, please leave that breaker off and call a licensed electrician immediately. If you smell electrical burning or see even the smallest amount of smoke around electrical outlets or switches, call 911 immediately.

Keep indoor live trees and greens well watered.

Use extra caution when using candles in your home. Do not leave open candles (not fully enclosed in a globe or lantern) burning in unoccupied rooms.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If the pressure gauge is not reading in the green replace it.

Please make sure your reflective street numbers are in place and kept clear of snow so that if we have to visit your home or business we will be able to locate you. Call the station—for a small charge we will make up numbers for your home or business.

Please keep outside steps and walkways clear of ice and snow to prevent slips and falls.

When it does snow, do not overdo it shoveling, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.

Please keep driveways plowed and sanded so that we can reach your home if you need us.

If you live near one of the “dry” hydrants in town, please help us by making sure it is kept plowed.

Always wear your seatbelts, take it easy when the roads are bad, and get home safely to enjoy this time of year!

Please contact us at 425-3111 if you have any questions or if you would like additional information. For burn permits call 985-8051 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Chris Davis is the fire chief at the Charlotte Fire Department.