Stories abound every Christmas season about people whose homes were destroyed by fire when an unattended candle got too close to the curtains or the Christmas tree burst into flame because it was too close to the fireplace.
According to Matt Grave, Redwood Falls Fire Depart-ment chief, these sad occurrences can be avoided with some good, common sense prevention practices.
One of the major issues which comes up has to do with those Christmas lights.
According to Grave, the public needs to remember to limit the use of extension cords and remember the number of lights strings connected together should not exceed three.
When it comes to the Christmas tree, Grave said things have changed over the years, as more people are using artificial trees.
Yet, he added, those who continue to put up real trees need to remember to keep them well watered and away from heat sources. Even having a tree next to a heat duct or vent blowing air can dry out the tree faster than is normal.
The National Fire Prevention Association encourages people who are putting up a real tree to limit the number of days the tree is actually up to around two weeks and to get the tree out of the house after Christmas as soon as possible.
When selecting a tree for your home, tap it on the ground or pull lightly on a limb. If a number of needles fall off the tree is too dry.
Candles should never be lit in an area where low-hanging combustibles are located, and Grave said he recommends using flameless candles that utilize electricity and still emit the same scents in a safer environment.
Grave said as the temperatures get cooler many people begin to utilize electric heaters in their homes.
He cautioned those using them to be sure and place them in areas away from things that could start on fire.
He also stressed the importance of making sure your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in working order at all times. Following safety precautions can help to ensure a more merry Christmas.