How Not To Burn Your House Down This Holiday Season

Fairlawn fire Lt. Rick Szeles offers some safety tips for decorating your home

Everything is beautiful this time of year because, frankly, you make it that way. But the Fairlawn Fire Department want to make sure your decorations aren't going to burn your house down. 

We checked in with fire Lt. Rick Szeles for some decorating safety tips this holiday season. Here's what he had to say:

• "Believe it or not, one of the biggest fire hazards is lit candles," Szeles said. "For some reason folks light a lot of candles during the season and typically that's how bad things happen." 

Don't leave a candle unattended or place it near something combustible such as curtains or draperies, he said.

• "People like to overload electrical circuits during the holidays," Szeles said. "They plug 20 things into an outlet that can handle two things."

Szeles recommends buying a safety power strip so you can use five plugs in one outlet. If five is too many, the breaker in the strip will trip and you won't have an electrical fire.

• "Then there's always the infamous Christmas tree," Szeles said. "That tree is one big piece of kindling and it's imperative that it is watered and stays reasonably moist."

Szeles says if you can pull the needles off the tree easily, it's too dry, but even watered trees can catch fire. Check your lights to make sure you aren't using a bad strand or that an extension cord isn't melting your carpet.

• "If you burn wood, make sure your fireplace is cleaned every year," Szeles said. "We go to quite a few chimney fires."

Also make sure your fire place is inspected, Szeles said. Cracks between brick and mortar can cause a problem. And make sure your damper works properly.


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