OMAHA (KPTM)- A fire is a scary reminder for people to take extra precautions before leaving home for the holidays.
An Omaha family is still homeless after a fire gutted a house over the Thanksgiving holiday. Firefighters said it's a scene that is all too familiar across the country, especially during the holidays. But it doesn't take much to keep this from happening to you.
"Contact your alarm company and let them know that you will be going out of town. Give them a good contact number of someone locally so they can call someone who can respond to your home," Firefighter Brandon Wilson said.
"Check your smoke detectors and your CO detectors to make sure they work properly and replace the batteries if need be."
"Leave a key with a neighbor in case there is an emergency so first responders can get into your home."
Wilson said people often leave irons and curling irons plugged in.
"Walk through your house and make sure your electrical appliances and candle warmers are turned off."
People also have a habit of leaving candles and candle warmers unattended. Wilson said they are dangerous too especially if you forget to blow out a candle. Space heaters also pose a threat.
"When using space heaters make sure you turn them off when you are not using them. The old space heaters don't have safety features that the new ones have and they can cause a fire."
Also, don't overload outlets with multiple blocks. Use surge protectors. They provide better protection especially around this time of year when you plug in all of your Christmas lights.
Artificial Christmas trees are relatively safe, but the danger comes from real trees. Those pine needles are a fire hazard so make sure there is plenty of water in the tree pan to keep it hydrated.
Cheap extension cords can't handle the heavy current demands from electric Christmas lights for long periods of time. You should use stronger cords inside and outside of your home.