Trees, lights and lots of treats are staples this time of year. But those staples can quickly become hazards, if the right precautions are not taken. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with emergency responders about how to make the holidays shine bright without compromising safety.
UNITED STATES -- This time of year, you can show everyone just how decorated you are. There's no shortage of lights in most homes. But before you plug them in, the Syracuse Fire Department says you need to make sure they're in good working order.
Syracuse Fire Department Captain Tom Erwin said, "Check your cords and examine the entire string of lights, make sure there's no frayed wires or bare wires showing, no loose sockets."
What kind of lights is up to you. Erwin says just don't mix incandescent with LED lights. You can use both, just don't string them together. Plug them directly into their own socket instead.
This little sticker tells a lot. This one in particular has the letters UL meaning it was inspected by Underwriters Laboratory. The fire department says you should be looking for tags like this when buying electrical products.
“Because you just don't know if that product has been tested,” Erwin added. “Replace it with a product that has been tested and bares a label."
Here are other tips: Make sure real trees have enough water are away from heat sources, don't leave lights when not home, don't leave candles burning unattended and watch kids and pets around cooking food.
The Red Cross volunteers also respond to disasters and say these are common mistakes.
"Some people like to use crock pots and plug them in let them go, then leave for the day and they're not there to view if something goes wrong," said Red Cross Senior Emergency Services Manager Rich Hajeris.
Hajeris also says this is a busy time and sometimes you can forget important steps, but being proactive can help to ensure a happy holiday and even better New Year.
If you haven't already checked your smoke detector, now is a good time to do so. And make sure your family has a plan in case of an emergency.