Ohio Fire Marshal Offers Safe Holiday Decorating Tips


As families set out to decorate their homes with Christmas trees, lights and candles for the holiday season, the State Fire Marshal offered homeowners tips on ways to stir clear of possible fire hazards.

Fire Marshal Larry Flowers said candles, Christmas trees and lights are the three main causes of fire during the holidays.

“Used properly, these can be important family traditions,” Flowers said in a release. “While Christmas tree fires are not common, when they occur, they often become deadly.” 

One-third of holiday fires are caused by electrical failures, according to the National Fire Protection Agency.

The danger of electrical fires can be eliminated by avoiding the use of damaged sockets and wires.

Furthermore, Ohioans are advised to inspect each strand before putting them up.

When replacing burned out bulbs, the state fire marshal said it is important for decorators to use bulbs with the same wattage as indicated on the tag of the light set.

Flowers also urged Ohioans to make sure smoke detectors are installed in every room and that the devices are working.

Here are more tips:

Purchase lights that bear the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and use the lights according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Outdoor lights are specifically labeled for outdoor use. Outdoor lights should be fastened securely and placed on a ground fault interrupter circuit.
Do not connect too many light sets together and never use extension cords that are worn or cracked. Do not run them under rugs or over sharp objects.
Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
Live Christmas trees should be as fresh as possible. Make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk, and place the tree in a sturdy stand; water it daily. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
One in five holiday fires occur because a heat source is too close to the tree.  Locate the tree as far away from heat sources as possible. Never place lighted candles on or near the tree, or where the tree may fall if knocked over by a pet or child.

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