Christmas Lights Safety
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The countdown to Christmas has officially started and many people are ready to deck the halls, putting up their holiday lights and Christmas tree. Fire officials say there are a few things you should keep in mind while decorating your home. It doesn't matter if your Christmas tree is real, fake, tall or small, fire officials say any tree can be a fire concern. "They go rapidly, so if it's caught fire it's going to burn pretty quickly. You want to keep it away from any heating device so away from radiators, away from forced air heaters, things of that nature," said Jim McCann, assistant fire chief with the Johnstown Fire Department. Where you put your tree is just part of what can potentially keep your tree and home from going up on flames. McCann says you need to check any lights you're hanging on your tree and home to make sure they're in good working condition, and none of the wires are frayed. McCann says LED lights are safer than traditional lights since they don't generate as much heat. How and where you plug your lights in is also important. "We have a lot of older homes in the area and a lot of these homes don�t have a lot of outlets. One of the biggest things we see is the overloading of circuits, extension cords and power strips, which are terrible," said McCann. McCann says to make sure you're using the proper extension cords and not combining multiple cords to make one long cord. If you plan on using a ladder to hang holiday lights, McCann says to make sure you have someone give you a helping hand to hold it. He says if you climb up too far, the ladder can become top heavy and the bottom could push out. Should a fire start in your home during the holidays, McCann says the safest thing to do is evacuate your home and call 911. "The key is to close the door when you leave so by closing the door it limits the amount of oxygen going into the home, which will slow the spread down and give us a better chance of confining it to the area of origin instead of it spreading to the rest of the house," said McCann