According to the National Fire Protection Association, four out of seven home fires occur during the months of December, January and February, and using candles and overloading electrical circuits cause about half of these fires. The American Red Cross, Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter urges local residents to remember that holiday decorations can be potential fire hazards if they are not cautious.
“The local Red Cross responded to 153 fires in the months from last November through February,” said Michael Adametz, Director of Emergency Preparedness for the chapter.
The American Red Cross offers the following tips to avoid holiday fires:
• Decorate Christmas trees with only laboratory-approved lights.
• Unplug Christmas tree lights when leaving home or going to bed.
• Do not decorate metal trees with lights.
• Use appropriate extension cords when decorating and do not overload electrical outlets.
• Do not decorate trees with candles.
• Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible material.
• Place trees away from heat sources and exits.
• Water trees daily.
• Make sure chimneys are inspected before the holidays and cleaned if necessary.
• Do not wear loose-fitting clothing when cooking to avoid ignition by stove burners.