RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Fire Department said the holidays can cause some dangerous fire hazards.
Flames tearing through a home is a scene that Richmond firefighters have seen play out over and over again. Many of these fires happen in the winter season when half of all home heating fires happen in the United States.
As the holiday season ramps up, fire departments across the area remain on high alert.
RFD spokesperson Amy Vu said ordinary items you might not think about could pose significant safety risks.
"It's best to keep your tree watered daily. A dry tree goes up more quickly and can be a fire hazard," Vu said. "During the holidays, we are using more decorations and that may mean using extension cords. You don't want to overload those extension cords. It can pose a big danger when it comes to electrical fires. We've seen it this year."
She also shared the following tips to keep your house safe:
- More than one-third of all home decoration fires are started by candles. To reduce this risk, opt for battery-operated flameless candles instead
- Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance
- Read the manufacturer's instructions for the number of light strands that you can connect
- One in five home fire deaths involves heating equipment. Be sure to keep your tree at least three feet away from space heaters and other heating sources.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are 4,500 home electrical fires in the United States every year. Many of these fires end up being fatal.