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Tips to avoid holiday fire hazards

Posted at 5:52 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 20:52:42-05

The Kern County Fire Department and the Bakersfield Fire Department partnered with PG&E to provide holiday safety tips.

Bakersfield Fire focused on how quickly Christmas trees can catch fire, burning down to the trunk in less than 30 seconds. "Put furnishings, carpet, drapes, stuff that would normally be in your living room and all you've got time to do is get out," said Bakersfield Fire Battalion Chief Danny Brown. 

PG&E says one of the most common fire starters are old strings of Christmas lights with frayed wires, burnt out bulbs and incandescent bulbs that heat up quickly.

"The holiday season is one of the best of the year, it's a time for friends, for family, but it's also a time when we need to be careful and use extra caution to make sure our homes and families stay safe," said Kern County Fire Captain Tyler Townsend. 

He, along with PG&E, say some of the most important things to keep in mind this holiday season:

Cooking Safety

  • Start with a clean oven to reduce the risk of a grease fire
  • Clear the range of anything flammable including dish towels, pot holders, and recipe cards

Electrical Safety

  • Avoid overloading extension cords and wall sockets by following the manufacturer's limits for the number of light strings that can be safely connected together.
  • Check all light strands for cracked or broken plugs, frayed insulation or bare wires. Worn cords can cause fires, so discard damaged sets of lights.
  • Don't place cords under rugs, furniture or other appliances. If covered, cords can overheat or become frayed, increasing the risk of fire.
  • Always turn off decorative lights—indoors and outdoors—when leaving the house and before going to bed.
  • Do not place your holiday tree near a heat source such as a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, making it more susceptible to fires caused by heat, flame or sparks.

Save Energy

  • Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights consume 75% less energy than traditional incandescent lights, helping customers save money on their power bills during the holiday season.
  • LED lights produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire.
  • LED lights are also break resistant and shock resistant.