Fires more common during the holidays - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fires more common during the holidays

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November 26, 2007

Albany--The holidays usually mean one thing for firefighters--more time spent battling fires.

"It picks up a tremendous amount," says deputy chief, David Eddins, with the Albany Fire Department.

It's around this time of year that fires injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage.

"You'll be doing things that you normally don't do the rest of the year. Cooking is a big thing, and that's probably our biggest cause of fires," says Eddins.

But it's also not the only cause.  According to the National Fire Protection Service, live Christmas trees account for 200 fires annually and about eleven deaths.  To avoid becoming a statistic, Deputy Chief David Eddins with the Albany Fire Department strongly recommends:

"Keep water in the base of it.  If they dry out, with these Christmas lights going, you've got plenty of fuel there, and you get the right mixture, we've had house fires on Christmas trees drying out," says Eddins.

And when putting up Christmas lights, check the wiring.

"Make sure that it's not frayed and that it's in good shape before they even mount it on the tree," says Eddins.

Another tip, don't overload an outlet. Use a power surge instead.

"A lot of times what we see is people put too many plug-ins into one outlet, and they're not designed for that," says Eddins.

And never leave your Christmas lights on continuously. Doing so can affect more than your light bill.

"They're not designed to be lit all night long," says Eddins.

While the holidays are a time to be fun and enjoyable, firefighters says it's important to never lose sight of one very important thing:

"Use common sense," says Eddins.

A final tip, make sure to check your fire alarms so that they're working properly.

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