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Fire Chief Advises Caution In Using Christmas Lights

Northwest Iowa — It’s that time of year again. Many of us are considering which lights and decorations to put out or purchase to make our homes more festive for the Christmas holiday period. The weather couldn’t be better — but there are some safety considerations to keep in mind.

We talked to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, and he says while new technology means fewer fire hazards, that should not lull us into a state of complacency.

(as said:) “Most lights that you buy today are LED and they don’t have the heat factor like the old… You know, when I was growing up we used to have the old bubble lights everything else, but then they got super hot! And there again a lot of people do not use live trees anymore, which makes a big difference but there are still some that… the tradition is there… we need a live tree. And there again, there’s people that sell them and they’re probably going to haveĀ  some type of instructions on stuff and watching your needles and making sure that they have plenty of water and so on and so forth.”

He says the lights that you buy should say how many strings you can put together.

(as said:)”It’ll say on the box, ‘Don’t plug in more than maybe two or three strings.’ You know, they have that end-to-end plug and don’t be plugging like ten strings in a row in there even if they’re LED because this can cause some problems. If you use an extension cord make sure it’s a good quality extension cord not something really lightweight… just for safety precautions. The more that we do to prevent, the better the outcome is. Just people… use common sense. Read the instructions.”

Fire safety experts also suggest that if you are using old Christmas lights, maybe consider replacing them with a string of new LED lights, if not for the energy efficiency, then for the safety factor. They also suggest not running extension cords for outdoor lighting if you can avoid them, and especially not to run them across sidewalks as they can be a hazard for walking or snow removal.

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