Fire department shares tips to avoid a house fire during the holidays

Local News

MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — According to the National Fire Prevention Association, there are at least 160 house fire calls around the country during the holidays that began with Christmas trees.

McAllen Fire and Arson Inspector, Lieutenant Carlos Benavidez said a key step to ensure safety this holiday is having a working fire alarm. He suggests testing your alarm system once a month, but especially more frequently near the holiday season.

Fire alarm systems should be installed on every level and in every sleeping room of your home, according to Lt. Benavidez.

On average, a candle fire is reported to U.S. fire departments around the country every 30 minutes, so the NFPA suggests keeping them at least 12 inches from anything flammable.

When it comes to Christmas lights, check for any frayed or loose edges. Be sure to also unplug all lights and decorations before heading to bed.

Underneath those lights, if your own a real tree, it should be watered daily. One spark near dry could start a fire in 30 seconds or less.

Two out of five Christmas-related fires start in the living room and with the tree.

The NFPA reports between 2015 and 2019, $10 million in direct property damage annually has been caused by Christmas fires.

Lt. Benavidez wants to remind everyone no matter how small you may think a fire is to still give the McAllen Fire Department a call at (956) 681-2500.

Fires could travel behind walls, crawl spaces, or the attic. Lt. Benavidez added they are professionals and with their special equipment, they’ll be able to diagnose quickly.

If a fire is caused electrically, shut off the electric panels. Otherwise, a small fire extinguisher is recommended.

The McAllen Fire Department added they want the public to be safe this Christmas and to not try anything they have never done before.

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