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December 6, 2016 2:45 am
The holidays are a time of friends and family. Unfortunately, they can also be a time of fire. Between 2009 and 2013 fire departments responded to over 1,000 home structure fires in the United States due to holiday decorations and/or Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The following eight tips can help ensure safety during the holiday season:
- Install smoke detectors on every level of the home, making sure at least one is located outside the sleeping area.
- Use holiday lights that are approved by a nationally recognized testing organization, such as Underwriter's Laboratory (UL). Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outside.
- Before hanging any lights, inspect them for frayed wires, broken sockets or other signs of wear. Test each light string and discard damaged sets.
- Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Place extension cords against the wall to avoid tripping hazards. Do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.
- Keep electrical connections off the ground and make sure they are clear of downspouts, railings, aluminum siding, standing water and snow.
- Never leave lights on trees and decorations unattended. Turn them off before you go to bed or leave the home. Consider using a timer.
- If you use an artificial tree choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant.
- If using a real tree, lessen the fire hazard by making sure it stays fresh. Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood and insert the base into a stand that holds water. Keep the stand filled with water. Keep the tree away from heat sources such a furnaces and heat registers, fireplaces, and space heaters.
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