Holiday Decorations Pose Potential Risk for Fires - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Holiday Decorations Pose Potential Risk for Fires

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Many already know that Christmas trees can be fire hazards, if they are not taken care of, but there are many ways to stay safe with holiday decorations.

All it takes, is attention, especially to the type of Christmas lights used.

"They do make lights that are just strictly outdoor and lights that are for indoor, they also make lights for both," said Clarksburg fire fighter, Lt. Patrick Sanjulian. "Make sure you have the right lights."

"Interior lights are designed for interior use, they are usually the smaller lights that do not generate heat," said Bridgeport fire fighter Capt. Phil Hart. "The larger lights, the outside lights will generate more heat, and get hotter."

Local fire fighters said keeping a home fire-free during the holiday season can be simple. One of the easiest things to do is to unplug the Christmas lights on your tree.

"Before you go to bed, before you leave the house, it's very important to unplug those," Sanjulian said. "You don't want to leave them unattended."

They also said overused outlets are another key cause of home fires during the holiday season. To prevent fires, they said use secure extension cords and do not over exert outlets, or electrical sparking can occur.

He said there are also safer alternatives to the live tree.

"Artificial trees as long as they're certified and labeled from an independent laboratory are really safe," Sanjulian said. "They're the safer way to go."

However, live trees can be safe as well, when cared for properly.

"The fresher the tree the better, before you bring it inside, cut at least an inch off the bottom," said Rudy Williams of the West Virginia Division of Forestry. "Just make sure it's completely watered. Once you bring it inside the humidity really takes the water out of a tree."

Williams said checking the health of a tree before buying can prevent a fire later. He said check a tree for signs of healthy pine needles and sap production before buying.

Local fire fighters said safety is always one of the best gifts during the holiday season.

"If you're looking for a gift for somebody, go to one of your stores and buy a smoke detector," said Sanjulian. "It's not a very exciting gift, but it could probably save their life in the long run."

For more tips on how to safely decorate for the holidays, visit the U.S. Fire Administration's website.