NORWALK, Conn. – With the holiday season in full swing, the Norwalk Fire Department has offered the following tips for avoiding fires during and after Christmas:
▪ Check all electrical decorations for damage before putting them up. Look for cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires or loose connections, which may cause a shock or start a fire.
▪ Do not overload electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time.
▪ Avoid connecting more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands may not only blow a fuse but could cause a fire.
▪ Water your real tree daily to keep it fresh. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.
▪ Try using battery-operated candles instead of traditional wax ones. Candles start almost half of home decoration fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
▪ Keep flammable objects at least three feet from any heat sources. This type of issue was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations, according to the NFPA’s statistics.
▪ To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, put under rugs, placed near heat sources or attached by nails or staples.
▪ Check decorations for certification label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Intertek (ETL). Items without these labels have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
▪ Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires.
▪ Turn off, unplug and extinguish all candles decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
▪ Use metal cans with lids for all fireplace ashes after extinguishing a fire, and never paper or plastic containers. Metal canisters can also be left right in the fireplace after use for added safety.