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Simple tips can improve safety

November 26, 2012
The Herald-Star

It's important to put safety first all the time, but as we enter the holiday season, special care should be observed.

And area residents should remember that the season's lights, candles, burning fireplaces and wood stoves can give rise to greater safety hazards.

This year, when stringing lights on a tree or mantle, remember not to overload household electrical circuits, which could lead to a house fire. Be familiar with the manufacturer's limitations on the use of electrical holiday decorations. Most homeowners are aware of the electrical load a particular circuit can handle. Renters, however, should check with the property owner with regard to electrical service before using large amounts of decorations.

Also, when putting up lights, check strings and extension cords for frayed or exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets, and never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets.

Candles, which are used to decorate homes during the holiday season than any other time of the year, also can be a fire hazard. Never leave burning candles unattended, and keep burning candles out of the reach of children and away from pets. Also, keep candles far away from decorations, wrapping paper and especially live Christmas trees, which if not taken care of properly also can be a fire hazard.

Live trees must be watered daily. Without the proper amount of water, needles can dry up and became extremely flammable.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is called the silent killer because high levels of the gas are a by-product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuel. Inefficient space heaters and furnaces are the major culprits of carbon monoxide gas.

Routine checks of these household appliances can greatly reduce a possible disaster that would spoil an otherwise festive occasion.

We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

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