Zachary Fire Chief Danny Kimble reminds residents in Zachary that while the holidays are a festive and eventful time of the year, statistics show that incidents of home fires and electrical accidents typically increase during winter months.

“December can be a peak time of year for house fires, and the main cause of those fires are misuse of items such as extension cords, space heaters or Christmas lights,” Kimble said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30 percent of home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during December, January and February.

Also, 11 percent of home candle fires start because of holiday decorations compared to 4 percent the rest of the year.

“I know people hear these things all the time and they don’t really resonate until it happens to them personally or to someone they know,” said Kimble.

In an effort to keep families safe during the holidays, the Zachary Fire Department hopes to increase awareness of holiday and home fires by issuing the following information provided by the NFPA:

One in every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six Christmas tree fires.

More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch fire is too close to the candle.

He offered some additional tips to help keep families safe this holiday season.

Do not overload electrical outlets.

Do not run extension cords under rugs.

Do leave extension cords coiled, as they tend to generate heat.

Do not string more than three strands of incandescent lights together, and always turn off decorations and Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Always purchase holiday lights and extension cords from a reputable retailer that bears the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

Hydrate your tree daily. Dry trees can ignite and burn in a matter of seconds.

Check and replace batteries in smoke detectors.