CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) - Holiday decorating and burning fireplaces are common this time of year, but they could also be dangerous.
In the past week there have been several fires across the area, all with different causes but common this time of year.
Fire officials walked through the potential hazards that could be lurking in your home.
Lt. Jason Elmore with the Chesterfield Fire Department walked through this home looking for potential hazards, spotting one right away with Christmas lights and extension cords.
"When you're buying an extension cord for outdoor lights, you want to make sure you're buying one for outdoor use. Once they do get wet, they're going to cause breakers to trip and cause electrical problems in your house, which at times could cause a fire."
He also warned people not to overload too many lights on one cord.
"Maybe one or two at the most and then after that, you want to think about using a different extension cord."
Heading inside, Elmore had a warning about real trees.
"The needles from the tree shouldn't be dropping off with ease, with the heat from the lights and the tree drying out, that's a danger for fire."
And if you decide to double up on lights inside…
"If you're going to plug in multiple ones, you use a surge protector. If you do have any type of surge, this will protect your home."
Elmore says it's important to clean out your fireplace and to watch out for decorations and furniture near it.
"If you have your stockings hung here that are close to the flames, they could become combustible and catch fire."
Finally, Elmore says to make sure you have a working smoke detector. Having that smoke detector doubles your chances of surviving should a fire break out.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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