Don't skimp on proper holiday safety when decking the halls - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Don't skimp on proper holiday safety when decking the halls

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You're decking your home in decorations and lights, but could you be putting your family at risk? Here are safety tips to ensure the most wonderful time of year doesn't take a turn for the worst.   

It's a Christmas staple. The Christmas tree, of course. While you're out picking the perfect pine for your family, Guam Fire Department spokesperson Kevin Reilly gives these tips on what to look for, saying, "When choosing a Christmas tree, make sure that it's fresh. The needles are not falling off when you touch it. And keep it watered. That's a very important thing. Keep it watered. Always make sure that the stand that you have can hold water."

And no tree is complete without all the trimmings. But no need to overdo it. "Also," he added, "although it's very pretty and everyone wants to show off their tree, don't overload it with lights. Make sure that the lights you purchase are tested at a safety laboratory; make sure that when you're plugging in the lights that the outlet is handling the wattage; don't overload power strips."

If you're using new lights - or recycling last year's, check the labels - and wiring - twice. "You want to look at the manufacturers rating and then test it in comparison to what your outlets can handle at home on the packaging it will tell you. Make sure that you check the wires. If anything is frayed or broken that exposes the copper wire inside," he shared.

Historically, this time of year there are more incidents of house fires. This time last year, a Dededo family lost everything to a fire that consumed their wood and tin home. The fire was sourced to a candle.

Reilly said, "As for candles, we always recommend not using candles. Use artificial candles, artificial lights that represent candles." And while it's typically out of sight...you'll want to keep your smoke detector on your mind.

"Always make sure you test your battery once a month. Test your smoke detector. Replace it every ten years or as advised by the manufacturer," he suggested.

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