MASON CITY, Iowa - Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it's finally time put up Christmas decorations. But if not careful, not only can there be injuries while putting up the lights and tinsel, but also a fire.
Rodney Askildson got a head start on his decorations a couple of weeks ago, and is just putting the finishing touches on his Christmas display.
"We had everything up. That's why there's snow on the stuff. It was ready to go, just needed to be plugged in."
As an electrician, he's well versed in what plugs into what, what could happen if cords and lights are not checked for frays or shorts, or if a circuit is overloaded.
"I have two circuits that come out here and each one is a 20 amp circuit, so I have plenty of voltage and draw from the current on it. I use LED lights which draw less current."
Fortunately, there have been no major incidents.
"A couple of blown fuses with moisture, but nothing major."
"I'm usually pretty safe and confident on it. And we've been doing it at this house for about 20 years."
With lights, Askildson insists on separating each strand out.
"You can't have more than what you're required, and for your string lights, only like 300 lights together, you have to break them up."
Every year for Anita Andersen, she's diligent with her lights.
"I make sure all of the things aren't cut, the drop cords are outside ones and they're not cut. You got to check your stuff over and make sure your stuff is not cut or damaged and the plug-ins are ok."
And while her lights are on a timer, she doesn't want to run the risk of a fire ruin what's supposed to be a joyous holiday.
"I don't ever go away and leave any of my lights on. Even the outdoor ones, if we go someplace in the evening, I don't leave them on. I turn them off."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2013-2017, fire departments in the U.S. responded to an average of about 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees, and 780 fires that got started by decorations.