Don’t let your holiday decorations turn into holiday hazards

Firefighters say more people are hoping to boost spirits this year, by going over the top with lights and decorations, and with that comes more hazards.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Holiday decorating is in full swing and local fire departments want to make sure you’re doing it right.

Anchorage-Middletown firefighters say more people are hoping to boost spirits this year, by going over the top with lights and decorations, and with that comes more hazards.

“We’re seeing a lot of decorations going up early inside and out,” Capt. James Hundley, the deputy fire marshal for Anchorage-Middletown Fire said.

They can bring all the warmth for the holidays but can end in disaster if you overdo it.

“You have a very heavy fire load, with both an artificial or real tree, especially if it’s dried out. Plus, the decorations on it and the presents around it creates an additional fuel load,” Capt. Hundley said.

The Anchorage-Middletown Fire Department makes runs every year for holiday-related fires. 

The biggest culprit? Overloaded extension cords.

Hundley says you should double check those labels on the wiring to know how many hookups are recommended, and if they’re for indoor or outdoor use.

“Any wires that may be damaged, frayed – if that’s the case, throw the Christmas lights away, purchase other ones,” Hundley said.

Broken bulbs? Replace them. Leave nothing exposed. And use hooks instead of nails when hanging the lights.

“They may accidentally drive that nail through the extension cord or wiring, and that’s going to create a short, and likely an additional fire,” Hundley said.

If you’re going for the real deal, make sure to keep it hydrated.

“It’s easy to get distracted and forget to keep the tree watered. Make sure there’s enough at the bottom of the tree stand to keep it from drying out,” Hundley said.

Keep trees and decorations at least 3 feet away from any heating device and never leave candles burning when you’re not around.

Lastly, if you do plan having any out-of-town company in the house for the holidays, make sure everyone knows your exits. 

Never hesitate to call 911 if you suspect something burning.

►Contact reporter Brooke Hasch at bhasch@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Hasch) and Facebook.  

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