Have a safe Christmas weekend with fire safety tips

Emergency officials are offering tips about how to keep your family safe this Christmas weekend.

According to firefighters, holiday lighting can be a danger if it is done incorrectly. You should follow manufacturer’s instruction and never string too many strands of Christmas lights together at a time.

If you are using an artificial tree with pre-installed lights, you should check it before setting it up to make sure there are no obviously frayed wires. And if you are having intermittent light problems, such as flickering or turning off and on, it could be a short in the lights. In that case, it would be better to forgo using the installed lighting and instead use separate strands of lights.

You should also make sure to keep any flammable material away from open flames such as candles. That means keeping a clear area three feet around drapes and other possible fuel sources.

If you are hanging stockings on the mantle of a wood-burning fireplace, you should make sure that the materials aren’t so close that they could ignite. You should also have a spark arrester on the front of the fireplace to prevent popping wood from expelling hot embers.

If you have a live Christmas tree in the house, you should make sure to water it daily. A dry tree can quickly burst into flames.

And it is always a good idea to have working smoke detectors and make sure that that your family has a fire escape plan in place that they have practiced.

Graphic courtesy of U.S. Fire Administration