Sunday December 23, 2012

Experts warn of holiday lighting display hazards

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BOSTON (AP) -- Before you light up the night with holiday displays, state officials want Massachusetts consumers to watch out for common safety hazards.

Fire prevention experts say in a recent six-year period, U.S. firefighters battled about 240 house fires annually that started with Christmas tree displays.

Experts say consumers should inspect light strings for cracked cords, frayed ends, loose connections, damaged wire insulation and broken bulbs and sockets.

They say not to cover lights with flammable materials, and to make sure lights are properly rated for indoor or outdoor use.

If lights flicker, if there is a burning smell, or if a switch gets hot, experts say to immediately unplug the lights.

Donald Jansen, from Massachusetts' State Board of Examiners of Electricians, says to also make sure Christmas trees stay watered.


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