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Fayette Fire Dept. urges caution with holiday decorations

The Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services is urging caution be used with Christmas lights and candles heading into the festive holiday season.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 250 fires are caused by Christmas trees and another 170 are caused by Christmas lights and other decorations such as candles each year.

The fire department lists the following safety tips for Christmas trees, electric lights and candles.

• Maintain your lights, inspect them each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking, or wear before putting them up. Use lights that are listed by an approved testing company.

• Do not overload electrical outlets;

• Do not link more than three light strands together, unless the directions indicate it is safe to do so;

• Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging them into the outlet. Make sure to check the wires from time to time; they should not be warm to the touch;

• When using lights outside, make sure they have been certified for outdoor use and plug them into ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles only;

• Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house;

• Extinguish all candles before you go to bed or leave the house;

• If using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for the intended use;

• Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace, it can result in a very large fire throwing off sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire;

• Always have working smoke detectors in your home, no matter the season.

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