The U.S. Fire Administration and Pacific County Fire District No. 1 remind everyone to pay attention to potential fire hazards during the holiday season, particularly as homes become busier with family and friends. Both agencies remind people to properly maintain smoke alarms and be aware of possible holiday fire threats, in order to protect homes and keep loved ones safe.

Holiday fire safety tips:

• Have furnaces and chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected to remove chimney tar, which can build up and ignite chimneys, roofs and entire homes.

• Keep combustibles at least three feet away from space heaters.

• Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets and damaged or worn cords before putting them up.

• If using candles, make sure they are in stable holders and placed where they cannot be knocked down. Never leave the room with candles burning.

• Do not put Christmas trees up too early or leave them up for longer than two weeks. Make certain tree stands are filled with water at all times and do not smoke near an indoor tree.

• Do not place trees close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.

• Working smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home, especially near sleeping areas. Remember to also test smoke alarms monthly, and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.

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