Holiday Decorations Could Cause Fires - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Holiday Decorations Could Cause Fires

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December has finally arrived, and with Christmas on the way, families are gearing up.  With lights going up on houses inside and out, and Christmas trees being put in place, the risk of Holiday fires increases.  But whether you decide to go artificial or natural, people should be aware of the fire risks they can cause.

"Our heating appliances are used a little more extremely.  People use supplemental heaters, they use their wood-burning stoves, their fireplaces, everything is used a little more to the extreme," says fire marshall Ed Hausauer. 

With extra stress put on home appliances and heaters, adding trees and multiple strings of lights greatly increases the chance of an emergency.  One of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. 

"Real trees are always an issue simply because of the fact that while they're very beautiful and smell good. In the homes we have with the furnaces running in the winter time, the humidity goes down to absolutely nothing, and the trees dry out if you don't put in at least a two day supply of water," says Hausauer.

Make sure natural trees are constantly watered, and check strings of lights for shorts and exposed circuits that could spark.  It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames according to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory. When a Christmas tree when it starts to burn, develops a tremendous amount of heat and goes up very rapidly, so they are very dangerous.

Don't plug to many power cords into one outlet.  Over-taxing the electrical system can cause blown fuses and circuit breakers.  Property loss during a holiday fire is 34 percent greater than in an average fire. 

"Even a small fire in a house is going to cost you thousands of dollars, so there is a concern," says Hausauer.

December is meant to be a cheerful time of year, a time to spend with family and friends. Do so with common sense and safety. 

"We need to keep you in your homes and keep you as safe as possible and as joyous as possible, because this is a joyous time of year," says Hausauer.

The Minot Fire Department also wants to remind residents to make sure their smoke detectors are properly working, and advises people to review their home emergency plans.

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