Preventing fires during the holiday season - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Preventing fires during the holiday season

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Each year, Christmas trees start about 230 house fires.

The things used to light those trees account for a third of those fires. That's why local fire departments are issuing a warning.

As you deck the halls this holiday season, the Chattanooga Fire Department is encouraging homeowners to keep all decorations 3 feet away from outlets and fireplaces.

"Or keep the screen closed to keep that flame from getting on the fabrics or the Garland," Assistant Fire Marshal Chuck Hartung said.

To prevent a fire, you should check all lights for damage or frays. Check each strand to make sure the quality of cord is good.

While lights look the best at night, remember not to leave them on unattended or while you sleep. 

"Actually leaving an appliance on while you're sleeping you wouldn't want to do that in your kitchen and you wouldn't want to do that in any other room of your house, so you don't want to do it with the Christmas tree," Hartung said.

When lighting your trees, be mindful of the method you use. Adding too many strands of lights to one outlet or "daisy chaining" can be dangerous.

"Because it overloads that circuit, the wire is not designed to take more than four," Hartung said.

It's best to steer clear of temporary electricity sources like extension cords. Assistant Fire Marshal Chuck Hartung said power strips are a better option.

"Multiple strands of use an outlet strip that has a breaker in it that if the lights do short circuit it terminates at the breaker strip instead of the outlet strip instead of causing a fire," Hartung said.

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