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12/10/2013 1:15:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
State fire officials offer holiday safety tips
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois fire officials are offering tips for a safe holiday season.

The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal says there were a dozen fires linked to holiday decorations, Christmas trees and other recreational materials in December 2012. That resulted in more than $85,000 of damage.

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says one of the keys to safety is to avoid overloading extension cords. His office also recommends using lights that have a label of an independent testing laboratory and knowing whether they're designed for indoor or outdoor use.

Fire officials say if you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it's watered. Also, make sure the tree isn't blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from a heat source.

December is the peak month for home candle fires, with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day representing two of the top five days for associated fires.  More than half of all candle fires start when they are place too close to combustible household items.


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