Holiday lighting safety tips

Fire crews are trying to figure out what caused a South Bend home in the 55000 block of Moss Road to catch fire.

The residents believe Christmas lights are to blame, but firefighters determined holiday lights were ruled out as a cause of the fire.

Fires from holiday lights increase every time this season rolls around. The National Fire Protection Association says they cause about 160 fires to homes each year.

The NFPA says that before you string your lights you need to check them for cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections.

If you find damage, replace the ornament with manufacturer specified items only. Bulbs with too high a wattage are a fire hazard.

Another fire hazard occurs when too many light strings are strung end to end. Connect no more than three strands of lights and no more than 50 screw in bulbs.  

Never run your extension cords through water or moist areas. Even if they are labeled for outdoor use.

Some local fire departments are making an effort to help the community have a fire-free holiday.

They have placed a wreath illuminated with red bulbs in front of Fire Station 21 on Cleveland Road. If a fire happens where the cause is deemed preventable, firefighters will replace one of the red bulbs with a white one.

The goal is to keep the bulbs on the wreath red throughout the holiday season.

The program will run through January 1st.
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