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How to keep your home safe during the holiday season

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media

Firefighters hope you hear sleigh bells jingling and not fire alarms ringing this holiday season.

Gordon Kotars, of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, said a lot of fire safety during the holiday season can be preventative like keeping your Christmas tree hydrated.

"A tree that dries out, if it gets a heat source or some type of an open flame or a spark or bad wiring or whatnot will burn like somebody soaked it in gasoline," Kotars said.

Another preventative measure — using flame retardant decorations.

"Keep your decorations away from candles," Kotars said. "Candles are one of the leading causes of fires in the holidays"

Kotars said kitchen fire incidents are also likely to increase during the holiday advising not to leave stove tops and ovens unattended for too long. He also advises monitoring children around hot surfaces to minimize risk of potential burn injuries.

Another item to be cautious of: lithium-ion batteries. Those can be found in several electronic devices like tablets, computers and drones but have risks of overheating while charging leading to potential battery fires.

"If you put a lithium-ion battery in a charger and you go away for the day or a couple of days, you're really increasing your chances of having an accident," Kotars said.

Kotars' overall advice: be safety conscious while you enjoy your holiday and make sure your smoke detectors are working well.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.