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The winter holiday season is, unfortunately, also prime fire season. Woodstoves and furnaces are warming homes, and holiday lights cause extra strain on electrical systems. Candles create a cozy atmosphere, but must be constantly watched. Reduce the chance of fire by observing these common-sense precautions.

Tree lights

Replace lights that flicker or have loose connections, frayed or cracked insulation, or corroded sockets. Do not overload your outlets, and avoid extension cords whenever possible. Unplug all lights when leaving your home or going to bed. All lights should be UL approved.


Always place candles in sturdy, tip-resistant candleholders. Keep them away from curtains, drapes, decorations, or other flammable materials. Don't leave them burning unattended or within the reach of small children. Extinguish candles by wetting the wick before you leave a room or go to bed.


If you use a real Christmas tree, make sure it's fresh. Trim the trunk two inches before putting it up, and use a large, non-tipping water-holding tree stand. Locate it away from heating ducts, hallways, doorways or any busy area, and keep it watered.

If you are using an artificial tree, be sure it is flame retardant.


As you prepare to entertain during the holiday season, traffic and activity in your kitchen may change dramatically, but basic kitchen safety rules don't change at all. In all the fuss, pay extra attention to the little things: keep pot handles turned inward, keep combustibles away from flames, and keep children and pets from underfoot while you're working with the hot stuff!

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