SACRAMENTO (CBS) — Many homeowners go to great lengths to make their homes look festive this time of year, but those displays could pose a risk.

you should avoid overloading outlets inside, too, say fire department officials. If you notice fuses blowing or circuit breakers tripping, dimming or flickering lights, you may be overworking your system and increasing the risk of a fire.

Carefully examine all your light strands and electrical cords on decorations. They should be in good shape, with no frayed wires and no tangles.

“I see, all the time, people with wires and its tied up in knot. That can be very dangerous over time,” said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.

Also, look for evidence your cords were safety tested, which carry a UL label.

Christmas trees are another potential fire hazard.

“I actually prefer realistic, but fake trees like these,” Thiel explained. “But if you insist on a real tree, keep it watered. And I mean it really has to stay watered, especially if you have it during the entire holiday season.”

And while candles are especially popular this time of year, Thiel recommends the kind without an open flame.

“We prefer the very nice led candles,” he said. “They look so realistic these days, and that’s a great way to have a fire safe holiday.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve. If you do burn candles, make sure they’re kept far from anything that could catch fire, and never leave them unattended.


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