SATURDAY, Dec. 13, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- It's a wonderful feeling to have the holiday spirit burning brightly inside your home. Just make sure your enthusiasm doesn't spark a real fire.
Protect yourself and your family against the threat of serious burn injuries or death this holiday season. When you decorate, cook, entertain and heat your home, follow these fire safety tips from Douglas County (Ore.) Fire District No. 2.
See the light. Ensure all your indoor and outdoor holiday lights have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Any light sets with frayed or cracked cords or loose or damaged sockets should be thrown in the garbage.
Don't overload your electrical sockets. Don't run your extension cords under carpets, across doorways or near heaters. And make sure they aren't pinched behind or under furniture. Unplug all your decorative lights before you go to bed or before you leave home. Don't use electrical lights on a metal Christmas tree.
If you get a real Christmas tree, choose a fresh cut one that isn't shedding its needles. When you get it home, cut the trunk at an angle and put the tree in a large, deep, non-tip stand. Place it far away from fireplaces, heat sources and doorways. Check the tree's water level every day and keep it topped up.
If the tree becomes dry, remove it from your house and store it well away from your home until you can dispose of it. If you buy an artificial tree, choose one that's flame-resistant.
If you use candles, put them in non-tip holders. Don't burn candles near your Christmas tree, combustible decorations or displays, curtains or anything else that can catch fire. Don't put candles in windows or near exits and don't leave them burning unattended or within reach of children. Always extinguish candles before you leave the room or go to bed.
Don't burn wrapping paper or any other type of paper or trash in your fireplace. Burning paper can go up your chimney and onto your roof or into your yard.
For more about holiday fire safety, go to the National Fire Protection Association.