Firefighters give tips to stay fire safe during holidays

Updated: Dec. 1, 2017 at 5:53 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Holidays are a time for stringing up lights and huddling by the fire. But some of the decorations could become fire hazards.

Firefighters demonstrated how quickly drying Christmas trees can catch fire. It took just one minute for flames to swallow the trees.

"You have about two minutes to get out of the house once that alarm sounds," New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said.

To keep trees fire-safe, make sure to pick a fresh one. If it's a flocked tree, make sure it's flocked with flame-retardant material, and keep it watered.

"A moist Christmas tree will resist burning, but a dry Christmas tree will go up real quick," Plaquemines Parish Fire Chief Roy Robichaux Jr. said.

Where the tree is can also make a difference.

"It should be placed away from heat sources. Heat will dry it out, making you have to water it more often," Robichaux Jr. said.

New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said important safety tools in the house are smoke detectors.

"We had a horrific fire in Jefferson Parish that killed two members of a family. These tragic events can be prevented. That home did not have working smoke alarms," McConnell said.

Tree lights could also be fire hazards.
"Replace any Christmas lights with their cords being frayed or damaged, unplug lights when you're not at home, do not overload extension cords," Robichaux said.

Another possible winter danger happens in the kitchen. Firefighters said the primary cause of fires starts at the stove.

"People leaving something unattended at the stove. You do not want to put water on a grease fire. That's why we urge having an extinguisher, and having it in the kitchen or near the kitchen where it's easily accessible," McConnell said.

Using the stove or oven to heat homes can also be fatal due to carbon monoxide build up.

These are all tips for a safe holiday season.

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