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Remember fire safety when hanging Christmas decorations
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McMinnville Firefighters Association would like to wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season. During the winter months with the holidays in full swing, it’s easy to forget fire safety rules which can have devastating results. Please remember to keep fire safety in mind this holiday season.
Christmas enthusiasts enjoy stringing Christmas lights around trees and small plants to give their homes a warm glow for the holiday season. These lights mesmerize children and adults alike in a stunning display of twinkling color. But some decorators forget the risks that Christmas tree lights pose when used inside the home. Homeowners can steer clear of such hazards by taking preventive measures against potentially threatening situations.
Christmas tree lights have a reputation of sparking electrical fires on Christmas trees. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a short in one light of an electrical light string often ignites a fire on the family tree. However, fires are less likely to break out on well-watered Christmas trees than dry ones. The administration encourages Christmas tree owners to keep their trees well-watered to reduce the chance of an electrical light fire.
Children seldom consider the consequences of getting tangled in Christmas tree lights. Toddlers and small children may get the electrical light cords wrapped around their neck and suffocate if not under adult supervision. Parents can prevent this occurrence by making sure their small children are never left alone in a room with boxed or partially strung Christmas tree lights, as children might use them as toys or attempt to string the lights themselves.
Christmas tree lights don’t need loose cords to pose a threat. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled some pre-lit trees. According to the commission, some buyers experienced electrical shocks and fires resulting from exposed wiring, wires that were too short, and electrical cords that were not plugged in all the way. While not purchasing pre-lit trees is the only way to prevent such issues, individuals can take some precautions by placing the tree in a well-ventilated area where it is not likely to quickly spread fire to furniture, pillows or gifts within close proximity.
 Even though real trees and pre-lit trees seem to pose the most threats in the home, artificial trees are equally as vulnerable to Christmas tree light risks. Fake trees are likely to catch fire when decorators overload electrical sockets with Christmas tree lights. Even flame retardant or flame resistant artificial trees can eventually succumb to a fire, as their resistance wears off when completely consumed in flames.
By following the instructions on Christmas tree light packaging, owners can determine how many light strings they can safely connect before posing a threat to their homes
Brad Weaver is president of McMinnville Firefighters Association.