Top tips to keep your holidays fire-safe

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LINCOLN, Neb (KOLN) - Just this week, one man and three dogs have died in Lincoln house fires, while several others have been displaced from their homes by flames.

One fire was blamed on an overturned candle, another fire was ignited by a space heater, and a third fire happened in a residence without a smoke alarm.

We asked Lincoln Fire Captain Kyle McCown to give us a list of the top fire dangers in the holiday season. "Be cognizant that you are doing activities that you aren't doing every day," he says. "Be aware that candles are burning. Be careful not to overload electrical circuits. I would say don't get complacent."

If you are assessing your house for fire safety, this list provides good template.

1) Overloaded extension cords. How many strings of lights are you connecting to a single outlet? Is every light on the outside of your house powered by one outlet?

2) Space heaters. McCown advises that you keep space heaters at least three feet from any other flammable item. He also suggests buying a ceramic encased space heater, which keeps the outside from becoming blistering hot.

3) Candles. McCown advises that someone is always tending to a burning candle. If you leave the house, or even go to another level of the house, extinguish the flame. Pets and small children are naturally curious, and can knock over a candle that you might have thought was perfectly safe on its own.

4) Cigarette disposal. Baby, it's cold outside. But if you still must go outside to smoke, please be sure to extinguish your butt thoroughly, and dispose of it in a fireproof container.

5) Live Christmas trees. They are beautiful, and you have to love the natural smell it brings to your home. But if you are not diligent in keeping it watered, you will eventually create a magnificent fire-started by the end of the holiday season. Please keep them moist.

6) Check your smoke detectors, Of course, it's a great idea to change the batteries at regular intervals, but the actual life span of a detector is only 10 years. So if you have been diligently changing batteries, your detector still may be on its last legs. Check the manufacturer date on the unit. It's most likely under the battery.