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Stay safe this holiday season: Tips to prevent fires & falls

According to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission, cooking is the number one cause of residential fires.

YORK, Pa. — While the holidays come with bright lights, snowmen and sweets, it's also a period when emergency rooms witness a surge in patients.

Firefighters say cooking is a major culprit as most people cook more often this time of year.

"There are things like keeping towels too close to the stove tops, could be boiling oils, could be in a lot of cases, food left unattended...they're mainly the type of issues we see this time of year," said Battalion Chief Matthew Arnold of the York Area Fire and Rescue.

According to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission, cooking is the number one case of house fires. Annually, it results in at least 10,000 injuries and about 2,400 deaths.

Christmas trees are another cause of fires during the holidays.

To prevent your tree from catching flames, firefighters recommend you should pick a fresh tree with green needles. Trees that are dry with brown needles are more likely to catch on fire.

When inside, it's recommended that you water it frequently, and turn off lights when you are not around. Also, officials suggest keeping the tree at least three feet away from any heat source.

"We all like to put lights on our tree so that’s kind of a touchy combination to have. A dying tree and things that make heat. They don’t go well together," said Arnold.

For those who hang outdoor lights, doctors say ladder falls are quite popular during the holidays.

"Back injuries are common, sprains and strains, fractures [are] less likely," said Dr. Anthony Guarracino, a trauma specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Fire safety experts recommend securing the ladder and getting to someone to hold it before you climb. 

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