Don't let decor spark holiday catastrophes
Each year fires during the holidays injure 2,600 people and cause more than $930 million in damage. According to the United States Fire Administration, there are simple steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday.
Here are tips to avoid fires caused by holiday lights and decorations.
• Be careful with holiday decorations and try to use those made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or noncombustible materials.
• If you have a live Christmas tree, fill the tree stand with water daily and keep it away from heat sources that will dry it out or ignite it.
• Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials, and do not use candles on trees.
• Buy only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow installation and maintenance instructions.
• Inspect new and used light strings and replace damaged items before plugging them in. Do not overload extension cords.
• Unplug lights before replacing light bulbs or fuses.
• Don't mount lights in a way that can damage the cord's wire insulation (i.e., by using clips, not nails).
• Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
• Turn off light strings and decorations, and blow out candles before leaving the house or going to bed.
Have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home and near every sleeping area. Know when and how to call for help, and practice your home escape plan.
Seminole Fire Rescue Department