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Electricians remind residents of Christmas light safety tips

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- Local electricians are reminding residents to be careful when they're putting up their Christmas lights this year.

The National Fire Protection Association reports there were 780 house fires caused by Christmas decorations between 2013 and 2017, causing $12 million in property damage, injuring 34 people and killing three.

Lowe's electrician Patrick McDonald said it's simple for residents to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

"You want to make sure that when you plug in your lights that you're plugging into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet," he said. "That way if there's any type of moisture that does get into the line, it'll trip at that and won't have any electrical problems throughout the house."

Quincy resident Amy Krohn said her Christmas display has a rich history, dating back to the 1960s with Louie and Mary Lou Louge.

She said they don't take any chances and have a crew to tackle the electrical set up so they don't have any accidents.

"We try to make sure we don't blow a fuse in the house. Sometimes if it's raining some of the things might go off if the GFCI is working right," she said. "We hope that people don't get out of their cars and walk around on the cords but sometimes it happens."

McDonald said something as simple as reading the manufacturer's instructions could save a fuse.

"A lot of lights, you can only put so many together," he said. "They usually will tell you on the package you can string five, ten. I've seen some that will let you string up to like 25 of them at a time.

McDonald said ignoring those could cause problems.

"If you do more than that it's going to have too much of an amperage draw and you could burn up the lines, trip breakers, things like that as well," he said.

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Jayda Hill

Jayda Hill is a Multimedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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