Firefighters offer safety tips for the holiday season

DOWNEY - Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire.Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. *Don't put your live Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. *Place trees away from heat sources, including fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. *Keep the live tree stand filled with water at all times. *Use only nonflammable decorations. *Don't link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it's safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. *Avoid using lit candles; consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles. *Ensure that Christmas trees and other holiday decorations don't block an exit way. For more tips on how to prevent a holiday fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home, visit the U.S. Fire Administration's website at

********** Published: December 6, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 34