COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – With Christmas behind us, as folks prepare to take down holiday lights and put away decorations until next year, authorities recommend doing so with caution.

40% of house fires occur between Nov. and Feb., the most common being electrical fires.

Around the holidays, folks tend to use equipment they are not using the rest of the year, leaving many unaware of their condition. Columbus Fire and EMS recommend inspecting electrical equipment before putting it into storage.

Columbus Fire and EMS Division Chief, John Shull, tells News 3, “monitoring the cords … making sure that we are not seeing burns or anything like that. We want to make sure we keep an eye on electrical equipment. We’re using a lot of equipment we’re not using the rest of the year, so that’s an additional reason to make sure that we’re monitoring it properly.”

That includes any frayed cords or broken bulbs. The majority of holiday lights are not made for year-long use, so if you do keep them up, be sure to unplug them.

With colder months ahead of u, heaters pose an additional threat, Columbus Fire and EMS stress the importance of Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers. The Community Risk Reduction Team want to make sure your household has what they need to be safe. They are providing and installing free smoke detectors for anyone who needs them.

Contact the Columbus Fire and EMS Community Risk Reduction Team at 706 – 653 – 3500.