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The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service would like to remind citizens to be cautious when using holiday lights and decorations in and around the home this holiday season.

Throughout Canada at this time of the year, fires involving candles, home heating equipment, and electrical sources increases significantly compared to the rest of the year.

Safety Tips:

* Always use CSA approved holiday lights and check the bulbs, sockets, wires and plugs to make sure nothing is cracked, broken or exposed. Replace any missing bulbs, being careful to never bypass a fuse.

* Do not overload electrical outlets; do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.

* Do not use lights on metallic trees.

* If your tree shows signs of dryness such as excessive needle loss, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

* Turn off all interior and exterior Christmas lights before going to bed, and when leaving the home.

* Use only non-flammable decorations; all decorations should be non-flammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents and fireplaces.

* Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace; it can create toxic fumes, throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

Have a safe Christmas Winnipeg!