HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many people are now looking to Christmas. As people go out and buy trees and lights, the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) said this is the best time to ensure your family is safe throughout the rest of the holiday season.
While the festive feeling of purchasing a fresh pine christmas tree may be tempting the HFD said they can turn out to be the most dangerous thing in your home.
“It’s like a can of gasoline in your home,” said Fire Captain Scot Seguirant with the Honolulu Fire Department. “What it’s going to do when fire gets to it is something that’s like gasoline. It’s going to expand. It’s going to spread it. [The fire is] going to be much more intense.”
He said when the tree gets dry, all it takes is a little spark, and your home could be in flames in seconds.
He recommends using a fake tree for Christmas because it’s non-combustible, but if you do choose to use a real tree, there are precautions you can take.
“When you select it, [make sure] it’s green and the needles aren’t falling off at the time that you buy it. Another thing you want to do is make sure that you’re going to cut off at least two inches off of that stump to kind of give it a little shot of energy,” said Seguirant.
Once the tree shows signs of browning or starts shedding pine needles, that’s the time to immediately throw it out.
Another major component to ensuring your home is safe throughout the holidays is checking your holiday lights.
“If they’re starting to be faulty and they’re not working correctly, then you want to go ahead and get rid of them and get something newer,” said Seguirant. .
Any exposed wires or loose bulbs may be another sign the lights need replacing.
Also, even if your lights are in good condition, they can still spark by daisy chaining, which that’s when you connect multiple lights into one.
“You’re trying to be festive and you’re trying to show your spirit, but then you’re overboard on what’s going to be acceptable and what the electrical components can handle,” said Seguirant. “You want to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on the lights.”
Instead, he said you could use a power strip to help distribute the electricity between lights. This goes for both lights inside and outside.
For lights outside, you should use an out-doors power strip and cord meant specifically for lights outside. Seguirant also suggests finding a cord long enough to plug in your lights as opposed to chaining multiple short-cord power strips. This again, can cause an outage.
Weather can wear and tear lights exposing wiring, and is another thing to watch out for.
“If it’s out doors you want to make sure you’re securing some type of protection for the connections, if it’s going to be out in the weather,” said Seguirant.
Finally, before you leave the house or go to bed, HFD recommends turning off all lights around the house, in case something sparks.