Fire prevention tips

A key to fire prevention during the holiday season is to keep the Christmas tree watered, experts say.

"The biggest potential fire hazard in the home is a dry tree," said Carson City Battalion Chief Stacy Giomi. "A dry Christmas tree can be like fireworks when it burns."

Make sure the stand is always full of water - a tree can drink a lot of water - and keep it a safe distance from heat sources like fireplaces and heater vents, he said.

"Tree fires can also be caused by candles and incense," Giomi said. He recommends placing candles on a nonflammable surface or a piece of tile.

State Fire Marshall Rich Riolo said electrical fires were more of a problem about a decade ago before companies included fuses within each light strand.

He recommends checking lights to make sure they have this safety feature and that they have not frayed while sitting in storage. Do not overuse extension cords, he stressed.

"Being careful during Christmas is not hard," he said. "It's just a matter of following common sense."

Riolo said the holidays are not much busier for his department than the rest of the year, but it does get more calls in the beginning of the winter season for chimney fires. In general, people have a good idea of what makes a house safe from fires for the holiday season, he said.


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