COPY-Fire safety tips for the holiday season - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

COPY-Fire safety tips for the holiday season

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Christmas day means most people are home for the holidays---but there are always a few firefighters around in case of emergency.

There are few things you can do to help them out this time of year.

"If you have it near an exit, it could be a hazard," said Captain Bruce Buchholz of the Eau Claire Fire Department. "You want to put your tree away from any heat source."

A few small decorations can turn into disaster quickly this time of year.

"Many are natural materials which have a tendency to dry out," said Buchholz "The plastic materials are still susceptible to heat and electrical shorts. Most Christmas tree fires start from an electrical short."

So just how long do you have if something does go wrong?

"A dry Christmas tree can be fully involved in less than 30 seconds," said Buchholz. "And the amount of heat that comes off that tree is tremendous."

The Eau Claire fire department has only had to put one red bulb which symbolizes a structure fire on its wreaths this holiday season.  But should they need to head to your house, they may end up looking for a fire hydrant

"If it's not shoveled out, cars have a tendency to want to park in front of hydrants which makes it even more difficult for us to find," said Buchholz.

Plus, the fire department says if they have to shovel they're losing valuable seconds they could spend saving lives.

"Keeping the snow away from it allows us to get in there, make our connections quicker," said Buchholz. "It's a benefit for the property owner themselves. If we can't get to the hydrant, it's harder to protect their house."

The fire department also wants to remind citizens that if you do plan to leave your house over the holidays make sure you shut your own Christmas  lights off.

And if you plan to burn candles make sure there is something heat resistant between them and the table.

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