Help avoid holiday tragedies by choosing a fresh tree and keeping it thoroughly watered daily. Also avoid overloading extension cords with more than three strands of lights. Use only UL-listed indoor-rated lights, and inspect all lights for frayed or exposed wiring. Always unplug lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

5. Replace Frayed Electric Cords

In 2009, an electric cord under a sofa caught fire in a Staten Island home. The blaze killed two men in the home, engulfed five other houses and involved nearly 300 firefighters.

All worn, old or damaged electrical cords should be replaced immediately. Also avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets, where they could easily become damaged.

Many electrical fire deaths can be avoided with the proper precautions. Visit the NFPA site for more fire safety information, and only employ licensed electrcians who conform to electrical safety codes.