FLINT TWP. — If your home, like millions of other households in the United States, includes a Christmas tree and festive holiday decorations. While enjoying the excitement of the holiday, you should be aware that the breathtaking beauty of the decorations also comes with a fire risk.
ServPro of Saginaw and northwest Genesee County is offering some helpful tips as we approach the Christmas season.
“Every year we see an increase in fires around the holiday season” said coowner, Randy Miller.
“If you don’t take the proper precautions decorations may actually present a formula for a hazardous situation,” added co-owner, Mike Snyder.
Candles and Christmas trees have been reported to be two of the contributing factors of fires during the winter months. According to the latest statistics available from the Nation Fire Protection Association (NFPA), holiday lights and other decorative lighting were involved in an estimated average of 160 home structure fires per year.
• 9% of those home Christmas tree structure fires were started by candles, and almost half of those fires were reported in the month of December.
The following are tips for individuals to consider when putting up and maintaining their holiday decorations this December:
• Do not overload power outlets with holiday lights. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions on the number of lights you can string together.
• Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.
• Be careful not to splatter wax when extinguishing a candle.
• Use flashlights instead of candles for emergency lighting.
• Do not purchase a Christmas tree that is dry or dropping needles excessively. Be sure to water your Christmas tree regularly.
• Do not use strings of lights that are worn, frayed, spliced or broken.
• If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled fire-retardant.
• Do not link more than three light strands unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Be sure to periodically check the wires; they should not be warm to the touch
“We want to make sure that everyone is keeping mindful of safety during holidays so they can focus on enjoying time with family and friends” said Miller. — G.G.