Valley firefighters urging safety when putting up holiday decorations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, many are turning their focus to Christmas decorations and holiday colors.

But before you overload that outlet with your Christmas tree lights, there are a number of safety precautions to keep in mind.

"In the summer, we see a lot of calls for BBQs and a lot of things going on outside," says Chad Fitzgerald with the Clovis Fire Department. "Now, the calls are happening indoors."

Fitzgerald says during the holidays, with families spending more time inside, it's all about avoiding dangers when cooking and dealing with candles and cords.

This time of year is one of the busiest for firefighters responding to fires resulting from stoves being left unattended.

"Particularly gas stoves, when you put things on a low simmer, it's easy to forget after you pulled the pot to turn the stove off," he said. "Everyone wants to have that beautiful table or something on the mantle, along with the postcards and everything else and candles is something we typically see because it's easy to see unattended."

Just as experts remind us about stovetop and candle safety, using old cords or overloading electrical circuits with multiple strings of lights can create a potential risk as well.

Fire departments say they see an uptick in calls related to extension chords every December.

"Don't daisy chain or create a situation where you've got multiple extension cords and outlets plugged into one another so you can make it easier for yourself because ultimately, that could overload a circuit," Fitzgerald said. "If there's a wire that's frayed on top of that, you create a potential fire hazard for your home."

When putting up Christmas trees, firefighters say to keep them away from any heaters while making sure they're watered daily.

A dry tree can burn in just a matter of seconds

"When you bring a living tree into the home, you want to keep it watered," Fitzgerald said. "It's decorative in nature only and it should only be there through the holiday."
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