On average, fire departments respond to 210 house fires every year that begin because of Christmas trees. An additional 860 fires are started because of lighting or other holiday decorations. This Christmas season, Northeastern REMC wants to help you stay safe.
- Keep your Christmas tree or anything that may be flammable at least three feet away from any heat source in your home. This includes air ducts or the fireplace.
- Keep candles more than three inches apart and do not leave candles unattended. Secure the area around it and make sure kids and pets cannot reach them.
- Never leave space heaters unattended or leave them on while planning to sleep. Try to keep children and pets away from them too.
- If you're entertaining, don't forget to double check burners or other cooking equipment when you're finished. Being busier than usual can cause distractions. If you're leaving the kitchen for a few minutes, be sure to turn off the burner.
- Water Christmas trees daily and dispose of when they are dry or begin to drop needles. Heated rooms will quickly dry out the tree.
- If purchasing an artificial tree, look for one with a "fire resistant" rating. This doesn't make it fire-proof, but it is less likely to catch fire.
- Do not string multiple extension cords together and do not put them under rugs or furniture. Be sure any used outdoors is labeled "for outdoor use".
- Check your lights before you begin decorating. Frayed, exposed or damaged cords should never be used.
- Connect your outdoor lights to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupting (GFCI) outlet. The GFCI outlet will trip before the breaker in your house if there is a short or surge. This is also an extra layer of protection against fires.
- If you're purchasing new lights, choose LED lights to do your energy bill a favor. Plus, LED lights are less likely to overheat.
- Test your smoke alarms every month and change the batteries annual or as needed
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Source: National Fire Protection Association