Fresno Fire urging community to be safe when putting up Christmas lights

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Black Friday may be known as the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but many see the day as getting the green light to put up the Christmas lights.

"We want you to celebrate and be festive and enjoy the holidays with your family, but take a few minutes to make sure whatever you're doing is going to prevent a fire," says Shane Brown with the Fresno Fire Department.

Already on pace to shatter last year's record-setting fire call volume by more than 50 percent, Fresno Fire wants to make sure your holiday set up doesn't turn you into a statistic.

Brown says so far this year, 721 people have been displaced by house fires and December is typically the department's busiest month.

"We've never seen a month with more than 500 fires this year, including this month," he said. "We've had six months that we've recorded more than 500 fires in a month."

Candles, overloading electrical outlets, faulty wiring and any appliance with an open flame top the list of leading causes of holiday fires across the U.S.

Brown says it's not only important to know the product you're buying, but you also need to know how to install it too.

"Any time you're hanging these types of lights, you need to be aware of what you're using to hang it because we've seen people will use staples or nails that they've inadvertently driven through the Christmas tree light itself," he said.

When it comes to what's under the tree, make sure it's only presents by watering it.

"The Christmas tree is beautiful when it's set up, but it has no way to get its own moisture," Brown said.

A dry tree can burn faster than newspaper.

Keep a close eye on the base of your tree. If you start to see pine needles collect, you know it's starting to die out.

According to the NFPA, more than two out of every five fires reported during the holidays happen because decorations or trees are placed too close to a heat source.
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