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Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday hustle and bustle has begun. When hanging the stockings by the chimney with care, keep in mind these holiday fireplace safety tips for decorating.

All combustible materials should be kept more than three feet away from your stove or fireplace.

“But what about my stockings?” You say. While we understand that the stockings hung from the mantle are often a Christmas staple, we want you and your family to be safe. If you do hang them from the mantel, just make sure to remove them each time you want to burn a fire. You can put them back up when the fire is not going.

When using decorative candles, make sure to use wide candle holders. This way, if the candle burned down to the end of the wick, you will have a wider area to keep the flames from reaching decorations. Or better yet, opt for flame-less, battery-operated candles.

If decorating with garlands and wreaths, use fire-retardant materials and have them fastened to the surface of the mantle shelf.

If your wreaths, garlands or trees have built-in lights, ensure that all bulbs are screwed in properly. There should be no exposed wiring, and all cords should be kept away from the firebox.

If you have a live tree, keep it well-watered. As time goes on, and the tree begins to dry out, be aware that your tree will pose more of a fire hazard than when the tree is fresh.

Install a fire extinguisher near the fireplace (make sure that it is in good working condition) just in case of an emergency.

If you have small children in the home (or small children will be visiting), keep a screen in front of the fireplace to keep little fingers from touching the hot glass and flames.

Just a small amount of planning will help to keep you and your family safe this holiday season. 

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