NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Throughout North Plainfield, residents and business owners are busy decorating the inside and outside of their homes in anticipation of the upcoming holidays. While lights, a live tree, and other festive decorations look nice, they can be fire and safety hazards if not erected or installed properly.

In an effort to keep community members safe this holiday season – as well as through the upcoming winter – North Plainfield Fire Chief William Eaton offers various fire safety tips to ‘deck the halls’ safely.

“It’s fun to decorate for the holidays, but decorations can increase the risk of a house fire,” said Eaton, adding, “Nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.”

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Eaton suggests inspecting holiday lights each year before putting them up and throwing away strands that may have frayed or pinched wires. Additionally, manufacturer guidelines for how many light stands can be strung together should be followed.

When it comes to a live Christmas tree, the chief said numerous safety measures should be taken. “Although live Christmas tree fires are not common, they are dangerous with 1 of 31 home Christmas tree fires resulting in death,” said Eaton.

Live trees should be at least three feet from heat sources – such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents –and must be watered daily.

While candles look and, in many cases, smell nice, they are also one of the leading causes of house fires. “Two out of five home decoration fires are started by candles. To be safe, avoid burning real candles as decorations, use battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.”

For those who do light candles, the chief suggests making sure they are in stable holders, in places where they cannot be knocked down easily, and never left burning when you leave the house or go to bed.

“Following these safety tips and using common sense will ensure that you enjoy your decorations, the holidays, and still stay safe,” said Eaton, adding, “Please do not hesitate to contact the North Plainfield Fire Department with any questions you may have pertaining to fire safety.”

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