Fire-safety tips could prevent a holiday disaster

Local News

WHEELING W.Va. (WTRF) As you deck the halls for the winter holidays, the Wheeling Fire Department would like to remind you of the dangers that go along with it.

If you’re putting up a tree or decorating for the holidays, remember the maintenance and responsibilities that go along with it. According to the Wheeling Fire Department almost one third of home Christmas tree fires are started by electrical issues.

Deric Jamison, Chief Fire Inspector for the City of Wheeling says after the tree is cut, it will begin to heal itself and between 4-6 hours after, it won’t be able to take in any water. He says it is important to make sure it’s freshly cut prior to setting it up. 

One of the things with Christmas tree fires is although they’re rare, when they do happen, they tend to be very devastating.

Just before you put it in the stand with water, you need to cut approximately 2in from the trunk of the tree.

Deric Jamison, Assistant Chief and Chief Fire Inspector for the City of Wheeling

Freshly cut Christmas trees can use up to a gallon of water a day. So, make sure you’re checking up on yours frequently.  

When it comes to decorating, Jamison says inspect your light before decorating each year. Broken bulbs or damaged cords can easily cause problems so it’s best they are replaced. 

You never want to overload the circuit. The packaging should say how many lights you can place string to string. Remember extensions cords are only temporary and you never want to cover them with a rug or anything like that it will allow the heat to build up and cause a fire.

Deric Jamison, Assistant Chief and Chief Fire Inspector for the City of Wheeling

He says there are many different factors such as small children, pets, cooking, candles and more that can easily start a fire so it’s important to be mindful.

Most if not all of these holiday fires can be prevented. So, remember that check list, before you head to bed, turn those lights off and water that tree.

Now more than ever, make sure your smoke detectors are working. Jamison says you are twice as likely to survivor if they are working. 

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