Overloaded Outlets Cause Holiday Concerns

Home fires are a major concern, as Texomans begin decking the halls with lights and other holiday decorations.

"A lot more plug-ins and stuff get put up around Christmas time, so you want to make sure you take the proper steps of securing your outlets," said Assistant Manager of the Wichita Falls Home Depot Ryan Breeding.

Breeding said surge protectors should always be used as a precaution, even with fake Christmas trees that have fuses to prevent fires as well. "Surge protectors (are) built so that if there is a surge of power or anything, it doesn't blow all of the light bulbs, and it prevents all of the cords from overheating or catching fire."

To prevent children from sticking their fingers or other items into electrical sockets, Breeding suggested using tamper-resistant outlets or child safety covers.

If you're trying to choose between buying a real or fake Christmas tree this year, fire safety may play a role in your decision.

"If you actually have live trees, it's really really important to make sure they stay watered, because live trees will tend to dry out after they're cut," said Breeding. Fake trees are also fire resistant.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, 150 home fires are started each year by problems with holiday lights and decorations. These fires cause about 8 deaths a year and $8.5 million in property damage.

Furthermore, about one in every 18 fires started by holiday decorations result in death, making them about eight times more deadly than all other home fires combined.

Christina Myers, Newschannel 6