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Take precautions to prevent fire mishaps this holiday

The National Fire Protection Association has a list of suggestions to review to help keep your loved ones safe and protect from home accidents this holiday season.
Holiday Decorating/Entertaining
  • Be careful with your holiday candles. NFPA says more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn. Keep children and pets away from lit candles, and keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet. Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • NFPA says more than two of every five fires happen because the holiday decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands you should safely connect together.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights outdoors so the cords do not get damaged. Bring the lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside, and remind them to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
Christmas Tree Safety
  • More than one of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they are more likely to be serious, NFPA says.
  • When you’re selecting your tree, make certain the needles are green and don’t fall off when touched. Cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in a stand.
  • In your home, make certain the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Be certain to add water to the tree daily.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • A good rule of thumb is to keep each outlet to three strands of lights or fewer. For added protection, consider using a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker, instead of the wall outlet.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

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