Fort Smith Fire Department Gives Safety Tips For Holiday Lights

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ARKANSAS (KFSM) - Folks around the world are getting into the Christmas spirit by putting up lights and decorating their Christmas trees. However, with all the holiday cheer, people can sometimes forget about the dangers these traditions can cause.

Before anyone flips the switch to show off their Christmas light display on their house or tree, Fort Smith Firefighters want to remind folks about some safety tips to keep in mind.

  • Check for cracked cords, or loose connections.
  • Check for bulbs that are burned out. If you spot one, replace them right away.
  • When hanging the lights, don't use tacks, nails or screws. It can pierce the cable and create an electrical hazard.
  • Keep an eye on extension cords as they tend to overheat. If the cord feels hot, unplug it.

According to Mark Talley, Division Chief of Operations, "The outdoor lights are weather-proof, whereas the indoor lights don't require to be as weather-proof for being outside."

Firefighters said another hazard are the Christmas trees. Lighting up the trees and making them the focal point has been a tradition since the 16th century.

If you have a live Christmas tree, it's important to keep them in water, and not let them dry out. The warm bulbs on a dry tree could cause a fire. Also, be sure to place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source.

Firefighters said artificial trees tend to be more fire resistant. "If you have a live tree keep checking the needles to make sure they're not drying out to the point they're falling off," said Talley.

It's also important to not leave your Christmas lights on when leaving the house, or going to bed. The Fort Smith Fire Department said during this time of the year, most fires are actually due to heating systems.

Fire crews also want to remind folks to always make sure you have a working smoke detector in your home.

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