With so many people gathering for holidays this week, the State Fire Marshall’s office says a few safety precautions can go a long way in preventing any accidents. Assistant State Fire Marshall Greg Carrell says it’s a good idea to keep people out of the kitchen while the host is cooking.

He says keeping people out of the kitchen will help avoid burns and spills that could cause other injuries.He says to make sure people know where the exits are in the house, so if there were an emergency, everyone could get out quickly.

He says blowing out candles when people leave the room and making sure they’re never near dried floral arrangements or Christmas trees are good tips for avoiding accidents. He says to also make sure that lights used on trees are not frayed or old. He says to make sure those lights don’t get too hot or they could catch an ornament or the tree on fire. He says when in doubt about lights, just throw them out, because new lights are cheaper than repairs to your house. He says to never put candles on a tree or near them, because the likelihood of the tree catching fire is so high. He said the fresher the tree and the more often it’s watered, the less likely a fire is.

Carrell says though it may seem easy to just throw the paper in the fireplace, it’s a bad idea. Carrell says the glossy paper with lots of colors gives off a lot of chemicals into the air, and that can be hazardous to breathe, and can also cause a flu fire in the chimney. Carrell says burning cardboard is a bad idea too.

He say burning it outside is also dangerous, because paper gives off large embers that could catch something else on fire because its such a dry time of year. He says recycling is the best option.