GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — As you go unravel the lights that have been sitting in your attic since last December, it’s important to pay attention to what you plug in when you decorate your home for the holidays this year.

“It’s imperative that before you plug anything in, especially bringing it out for the first time of the season, to inspect what you’re about to plug in.” said Lt. David Morales, of Getzville Fire Company.

According to Morales, local fire departments here in WNY see more house fires during the colder months, and those numbers are known to decrease during the holidays.

“It’s almost like a perfect storm because you’re bringing in a lot of heating elements into your house. You’ve got fireplaces, you’ve got heaters, all kinds of things that are creating extra heat,” said Morales. “You bring something in like a Christmas tree inside your home, you’re bringing in fuel for a fire, wrapping paper, presents; that’s the kindle for the fire. So really, you have a large amount of things that can catch on fire and a large amount of things that can start a fire in the house.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 1 in 5 Christmas tree fires are started by lights or bulbs.

When decorating, Morales advises homeowners to make the switch from the old bulbs that give off heat, to LED lights that are much colder. He also advises checking the wiring before you plug anything in, paying attention to an extension’s cord’s proper use, and not plugging multiple extension cords into each other.

“You should never be plugging multiple things into the same thing,” said Morales, “Doing so overloads circuits, overloads fuses and even starts a house fire. You can start a lot of things that can go wrong beyond breaking your lights.”

When using open flames, including Menorahs and Kinaras, he says to always keep an eye on it, and keep it at least three feet away from flammable substances.

For more holiday safety tips from the NFPA, click/tap here or visit the Red Cross’s Fire Safety Tips page here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.