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 PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- As wintertime and the holidays approach, Philadelphia Electric Company (NYSE: PE)(PECO) offers some fire prevention tips for seasonal safety.
 According to Patrick W. Zollo, supervisor of PECO's Fire School, "It only takes a few extra moments to practice fire safety and prevent holiday tragedies."
 Zollo said holiday fire "ignition sources" include cigarettes, candles, sterno cooking devices, fireplaces, Christmas trees and wreaths, and holiday lights, wrappings and decorations. "With proper caution, holiday celebrations can be enjoyed without fire hazards," he said.
 He offered the following tips:
 -- Careless smoking contributes to many fires. Over-indulgence by those who drink, particularly if they also smoke, contributes to thousands of house fires every year. Dropped cigarettes are the nation's leading cause of fire deaths. Let ashtrays stand overnight and check carefully before emptying. Check for smoldering cigarettes after entertaining. Keep smoking materials out of the reach of children.
 -- If you buy a naturally grown tree, be sure it is fresh. Make a fresh cut one to two inches up from its base at a 45 degree angle to help the tree consume water. Place the tree in water and leave outdoors, if possible, until you are ready to decorate it. Inside, place it in a sturdy stand with plenty of room for water. Trees absorb two pints to a gallon of water a day, so check the stand daily and add water as needed.
 "The potential for a tree fire inside the home is tremendous," Zollo said. "A tree can just explode with fire spreading rapidly."
 -- Keep the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, television sets and other heat sources. They can dry the tree prematurely and lead to fires. Also keep the tree clear from stairs, doorways, and exits. Do not run electric trains under the tree, a spark could set it on fire.
 -- The tree should be removed from the house and be tied as soon as the needles start to fall off. Place it outdoors in a safe area until disposed.
 -- Don't allow lighted candles near the tree, drapes, curtains or decorations. Make sure the candle base is safe to prevent tipover. Keep candles out of reach of children and where they won't be knocked over by anyone. Do not leave candles burning in unoccupied rooms. Likewise, turn off tree and decorative lights when you leave home or go to bed.
 -- Live decorations such as evergreen boughs, wreaths, and holly are less of a safety hazard than artificial decorations. Keep them away from heat sources and discard promptly when dry. Make sure artificial decorations are labeled "fire resistant" or "fire retardant."
 -- Check decorative lighting wires for breaks, loose connections and shorts. Replace as necessary. Never connect more than three strands of lights to a single extension cord to prevent overheating. Use only decorations or cords approved by a testing agency.
 -- Keep outdoor lights away from power lines. Be careful when raising ladders; don't place them in a position where they may contact a power line when you are decorating outdoors. Fasten outdoor wires securely to house, trees or post with sockets pointing downward to keep moisture from collecting. Don't use indoor lights outdoors. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree; use colored spotlights from a distance for illumination.
 -- Route cords so they will not trip anyone, but do not place them under rugs, appliances or other objects. Cords can overheat or become worn and cause a fire.
 -- Do not place wrapping paper or dried decorations in the fireplace. Flaming paper in the chimney can weaken the chimney, burn unnoticed for hours, and lead to hazardous situations.
 -0- 12/8/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Wood of Philadelphia Electric, 215-841-4125/

CO: Philadelphia Electric Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

JO -- PH027 -- 1913 12/08/93 16:32 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 8, 1993

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