ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia ranks high when it comes to fires and thefts in the month of December. State Farm Insurance processed nearly one thousand theft claims and almost 200 house fires claims last December.
Some people who live here on Homewood and Hilltop have even moved out because the break-ins were getting so out of hand. Firefighters are also busy due to cooking fires and electrical fires around the holidays.
It's a sight and sound homeowners dread, and according to fire officials, this may be their busiest month.
"December usually the fires pick up a little bit," said Americus Fire Chief Allen Erkhart.
State Farm agents agree.184 fire claims were filed last December in Georgia, the 8th highest total nationwide.
"Biggest thing is just being aware. That's probably the biggest thing," said State Farm agent Tim Thomas.
Thomas says it's a thing many cooks don't do.
"It's easy to walk off and become distracted and then next thing you know you've got a fire," said Thomas.
Christmas trees are another catalyst for house fires in December. The Americus Fire Department does its part to prevent those fires from happening, and it's something you could do at home.
"Older they get, the more flammable they get, and we just spray them with retardants that is a borax, Epson salt and water mixture,' said Erkhart.
It's not only what you put on your tree that keeps you safe though. What you put under it, or don't put under it, can keep you from becoming a victim of burglaries.
"If you have very expensive gifts, I would suggest you don't put those under the tree until you are ready to give that gift to whoever you're giving it to as well," said Thomas.
Take heed because simple advice and precautions like this may save you a lot of headache this holiday season.
Thomas says you also need to keep a close eye on your credit card statements to make sure those numbers haven't been used by thieves. For those of you in Americus, you can take your tree by the main station and they will spray it for you.