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Investigation: Holiday Decoration Dangers

Created: 12/17/2013 7:16 PM KAALtv.com
By: Ellery McCardle

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- You've probably had your Christmas tree up for a few weeks now. But life gets busy, especially this time of year, which may make it a little more difficult to remember those Christmas tree safety steps.

Four seconds and a dry Christmas tree goes up in flames. 25 seconds and half of a room is on fire.

This was a test done a few years ago by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It shows how quickly Christmas tree fires can spark.

"In the U.S. over 30% of fire calls in the month of December happen between December 24th and January first in that one week," said Larry Mueller, assistant fire marshal.

Mueller says on average, six people die in the U.S. every year from similar fires.

A common mistake we make? Leaving decorations too close to heaters.

When you're putting the lights on your tree, check for any cracks in the bulbs or tears in the wires. If you see one, throw the strand out.

Which is safer? Artificial or natural trees? Mueller says the answer is artificial.

Artificial trees are created with a flame resistant material, but we're told if you have a tree that's 10-15 years old you might want to replace it because some of that material may have worn off.

Other things to keep in mind: leave at least one foot of space near candles. If you leave your house don't forget to blow them out.

We know it looks nice when you leave the lights on at night for your neighbors to see, but its not safe. Turn them off when you go to bed or leave for the day.

It's a busy time of year and our priorities may change, but bottom line most holiday-related fires are preventable.

For more holiday safety tips click on the following link: http://www.nfpa.org/holiday