Fire safety tips for the holidays

The Christmas season is supposed to be a time for celebrating, but it can quickly become a time of tragedy if a holiday fire causes loss of lives or serious injuries along with damage to properties.Cache Valley has had its share of holiday fires, according to Smithfield Fire Captain Mike Weibel, who says by following precautionary tips the chance of fire can be greatly reduced.On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Wednesday, Weibel said you should make sure your Christmas tree is fresh, don’t place it by a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent because the heat will dry out the tree.”When it comes to the lighting on the trees, if you’re going to put the wires on, the lights, take a look at them,” Weibel cautioned. “Don’t just trust them, ‘hey, they were good last year, they’ll be good this year.’ “Inspect the wires for frays, gaps in the insulation, broken or damaged sockets, etc. Periodically check the wires too after you plug them in. When they’re on the tree reach over and feel them. If they’re warm, get them off the tree and dispose of them.”Weibel says a lot of people try to plug too many things into their outlets. He says the fire service highly recommends that people use power strips, especially those with circuit breakers built into them. Fire departments also warn people to not leave candles unattended. There are a lot of scented candles lit this time of year and Weibel warns people to be sure to extinguish the flame on the candle if they will be leaving the room. Several house fires over the holidays have been caused by unattended candles.

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