Be alert for holiday season fire dangers - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Be alert for holiday season fire dangers

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ARDMORE, Okla. -- Firefighters urge using caution when putting up Christmas trees and lights this season.

Overloaded outlets are the main cause of house fires during the holidays.

"Extension cords are supposed to be used for temporary purposes only," warned Ardmore Fire Department Shift Commander Scott Richards. "You want to be very careful with those.

And fresh-cut trees pose their own potential for danger.

"You got to keep those things watered thoroughly throughout the season," Richards said. "If you don't, they become extremely hazardous. Anybody can Google 'Christmas tree fire' online and see how quickly those things can go up. It just takes a matter of seconds."

One way to make sure your lights don't become a fire hazard is to keep them turned off at night.

"If your lights are going to be on, you need to be up and awake," Richards said. "It's a good practice to turn them off when you go to bed, and then just don't leave them on when you're not home."

The National Fire Protection Association recommends:

  • keeping a Christmas tree at least three feet from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters or heat vents
  • keeping candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn
  • add water to the tree daily
  • use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory
  • disposing a fresh-cut Christmas tree after the holiday, or when it is dry

Richards adds that it's a good time to check your smoke alarms, make sure they are working properly, and replace batteries as needed.

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