#039;Tis the season to think about fire safety

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

Tribune editorial staff

Fire safety is something everyone should think about all year round, but we should be extra aware during the holiday season.

Since last Friday, three houses in Lawrence County have been destroyed by fire. Even though these fires may not have been caused by holiday-related dangers, they shed light on the fact that we need to take extra safety measures to assure such a tragedy does not happen to us.

Email newsletter signup

The risk of residential house fires increases this time of year because more hidden dangers exist.

Most of these dangers deal with holiday decorations.

If you use a real Christmas tree in your home, make sure to water it daily. Electric lights strung on a dried-out tree are a recipe for disaster. All lights

should be inspected every year to make sure cords are not worn or frayed. Avoid using real candles on a tree because if the needles are dry they can easily catch fire.

Keep your tree secured in a sturdy stand so that it does not tip over and keep it away from all heat sources such as electrical outlets, radiators and portable space heaters. If you buy an artificial tree, be sure that it is fire-retardant. Unplug all lights - both indoor and outdoor - and extinguish all candles every night before you go to bed.

Circuits that are overloaded with lights, decorations, and accessories can start a fire. Therefore, you should never plug too many decorations into indoor or outdoor electrical outlets.

Any decoration with candles should be used with care. As decorative candles have become more popular, candle fires have been on the rise. According to the NFPA, the number of fires started by candles nearly doubles during the month of December.

If you light candles, keep them out of reach of children and pets, away from curtains and furniture and extinguish them before you go to bed. Make sure candles are in sturdy holders that will not tip over and are made of inflammable material.

Christmastime is a time for joy, happiness and togetherness. Don't let a house fire ruin your holidays. Take the proper steps to reduce the chances of you and your family suffering a house fire.