The El Paso Fire Department wants to remind the public to practice safety when decorating for the holidays this year.

The holidays are a time to deck the halls all while getting into the Christmas spirit but the El Paso Fire Department would like to remind the public of fire risks and electrical injuries if not used safely. According to the El Paso Fire Department, on average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in 12 deaths, 24 injuries and $16.4 million in property damage. Here are some recommended guidelines to help prevent fire hazards during the holiday season provided by the El Paso Fire Department.

Candles

Avoid using candles when possible instead consider battery-operated candles. If you choose to light candles, keep them away from combustibles like decorations and wrapping paper and place them in locations where they cannot be knocked over. Never use lighted candles on a tree or other greenery, leave them unattended or near pets and children. Extinguish all candles if they will be unattended.

Christmas Trees

When using live trees, check for freshness because a fresh tree will stay green longer. Heated rooms will dry out live trees much faster, so be sure to keep the stand filled with water. When using an artificial tree, choose those labeled “Fire Resistant.” Don’t use electrical ornaments or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch coverings. Place trees at least three feet from all heat sources like fireplaces, radiators and space heaters. Unplug tree lights when going to bed.

Lights/Electrical Decorations

Carefully inspect for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections. Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. Only use lights approved by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than incandescent lights. If you choose to use incandescent lights, never string more than three strands together. Unplug electrical decorations when replacing bulbs or fuses. Unplug all decorations when leaving the house or going to sleep.