By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Many of us will be hanging Christmas decorations this week. Let’s start this week start from the outside and work our way in.

One of the most common causes of holiday-time house fires results from these bulbs being too close to gutters filled with dried out leaves. Make sure that the strings of lights you are using outside have built-in fuses on the lines.

Check the actual plug. Make sure you are using lights designated for outdoor use only.


Use Christmas lights and electric equipment that has been tested and verified by a reliable testing laboratory. If you have a string of lights with a blown bulb, be sure to replace it with a bulb of the exact same wattage.

Never tap into your home’s feeder line to power your outdoor Christmas lights or hang decorations on the line.

Avoid using nails, tacks or metal staples to secure your outdoor Christmas lights. Use insulated hooks. Be sure your lights are strung tightly to avoid damage from the wind.

Use only outdoor rated extension cords. Connect no more than three strings of lights to a single extension cord. All plugs should be plugged into a GFCI protected outlet when used outside.

Watch for overhead wires when using a ladder. When climbing a ladder, always use caution, preferably having someone secure the ladder for you. Do not place the ladder in damp or muddy areas. Make sure you have a safe and solid foundation before climbing.

For additional safety tips contact your local fire department

Merry Christmas!