Holiday safety tips for last minute holiday set ups

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - If you haven't set up that Christmas tree or the holiday lights yet, or if you have, here are some safety pointers that could help to reduce the chance for disaster.

The holiday decorations and trees may be pretty sights, but if safety precautions aren't taken it may be more than just chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

"We do see an increase in incidents sometimes during the winter months," Nicole Wright, a firefighter and EMT with the Horseheads Fire Department, said.

One of the holiday fire culprits, a naturally cut Christmas tree. The leaves, branches, needles or whatever your tree may have, can get dry. It's perfect fuel for a fire.

"If you choose to have a real Christmas tree, you have to make sure that you water it everyday so the needles don't get dried out," Wright said. "When you choose the Christmas tree, you have to make sure the needles are all green and not dried out."

A dry tree can combust entirely in a minute. 

If lights adorn the tree, keep an eye for certain flaws before putting lights on the tree. It's not only to help reduce the chance of a flare up, but also to increase the lights' longetivity.

"Every year, when you put your Christmas lights out, check each individual bulb," Wright said. "If they're loose, don't use them and discard them. Buy new bulbs, buy whole new lights.

She added that the lights have "any loose wire connections or broken wires, discard them and buy new lights."

In the event of a fire, Wright says to evacuate the home immediately. According to the Red Cross, a house can entirely catch fire in two minutes. Ensuring your safety will also ensure a festive and joyous holiday season.

Wright also says other causes of holiday fires include leaving holiday cooking unattended and malfunctioning furnaces.

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