'Tis the Season...For House Fires

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It's that time of year again: Time for untangling lights, lugging the Christmas tree in - you know, the whole 'decking the halls' bit. 

But if your Christmas decorating spirit goes a little overboard, instead of a red sleigh, you can expect a red truck.

The big message this holiday season: practice good holiday fire safety in your home.

"Mainly good connections with plugs," advised Joe Diprospero, an expert on holiday lighting in the electrical department at the Home Depot in Watertown.

Diprospero says the golden rule of lighting is to have no more than five strings of incandescent lights per outlet.

"It doesn't hurt to feel the cords once in a while to see if they're getting warm. That means you may have too many strings hooked up," he added.

And when you do overload a cord? Turns out, they can burn up.

"By the looks of it, what they did was they plugged in something that took more electricity than this cord can handle," said Watertown Fire Department Captain T.G. Kolb, pointing to a charred extension cord in his hands to illustrate his point.

Kolb also has some fire safety advice about live Christmas trees:  When they dry out, they can go up in flames in a matter of seconds. 

One of the best tips to keep your tree from going dry is to cut just a bit off the stump before you put it in the stand. Also, when it goes in the stand, remember to keep it watered.

So before you go all Clark Griswold a la "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (think the line: '250 strands of lights, 100 lights per strand, for a grand total of 25,000 Italian imported lights!'), take a step back and think holiday fire safety.

Don't forget to water your tree and, of course, read the instructions on the side of your box of lights.
 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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