Keep the holidays from going up in flames: Safety tips from Montgomery Co. Fire and Rescue

As you begin decorating for the holidays, make sure to keep fire safety in mind.

“Right after Thanksgiving is a popular time for people going out and getting those cut trees or live trees,” said Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.

“If you’re using the Christmas lights that your grandma had, it’s probably time to replace them. The new lights, the LED lights, are cheap enough and they don’t burn hot.”

You can rock around your Christmas tree, but make sure to keep that tree away from heaters and fireplaces.

“Just keep it away from the heat sources,” Piringer said. “Keep it hydrated. Water the tree daily.”

He recommended getting the “freshest” tree possible and keeping it in a gallon of water outside before you bring it inside your home.

In addition to the lights, he added that updating the electrical cords may be a good idea.

“Make sure that they are in good shape, that they don’t have any cracks and things like that,” Piringer said. “If they do, it’s time to replace them.”

Trees aren’t the only source of concern. Piringer said candle fires “tend to peak” during the holiday season as they’re often used for religious observances.

“Never leave the room with the candles still burning,” he said. “We would recommend, and we hope, that everyone by now has a flameless candle, a battery-operated candle … They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. There’s even some that give out an aroma.”

Heather Gustafson

Heather Gustafson is a Freelance Anchor/Reporter for WTOP, a DMV native and an Emmy award-winning journalist lauded for her 2020 Black Lives Matter protests coverage.

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