Fire marshal offers tips to stay safe this season - WNEM TV 5

Fire marshal offers tips to stay safe this season

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

You want your Christmas tree lighted, but you don't want it to catch fire.

Boughs of holly can start a blaze and decking the halls can be dangerous if not done properly.

"Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it's also a time to be extra careful," Saginaw Fire Marshal Ralph Martin said.

Martin sees a spike in electrical fires every winter.

During the holidays residents load up their circuits with Christmas decorations, plugging in everything from inflatable snowmen to Christmas lights.

Martin wants to stress dry trees and hot lights are a bad combination.

"Make sure you water your tree. Make sure that water is under the tree at least once a day," Martin said.

Another danger is the extra heating supplies we use to keep warm.

Space heaters need to be kept three feet away from anything flammable, but that's not Martin's only suggestion.

"One thing you never want to do is connect your space heater to an extension cord. It just draws too much current for an extension cord. So that's a big no no right there," Martin said.

Another big no no is called piggy backing. It's when one power cord is connected to another.

Martin said it's one of the biggest mistakes he has been running into.

The Saginaw Fire Department reported 17 out of their 118 structure fires this year were caused from electrical issues.

When you open up that brand new TV for Christmas you may need to think twice about where you're plugging it in.

Too many large appliances plugged into the same outlet or power cord can be disastrous.

"Worst case scenario is over draw of electrical power. Currents overfill, too much draw on that electrical device will cause it to draw heat, which in turn could get hot enough to ignite and that can cause a structure fire," Martin said.

Martin said accidents happen, but there's always one more line of defense to stay safe this holiday season.

"Always make sure those smoke detectors are in working order. That's one of our main, main encouragements to everyone," Martin said.

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