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 HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The holiday season is a time for celebration and good cheer.
 It's also a time when many home fires occur.
 "Traditionally, there have been more deaths from home fires during the winter holiday season than at any other time during the year," says Richard A. Harrington, assistant director, property and marine claims, ITT Hartford Insurance Group. ITT Hartford developed Junior Fire Marshal, the longest-operating fire safety education program for children.
 Nearly 25 percent of all electrical-related home fire claims submitted to ITT Hartford last year occurred during the winter holiday months. Electrical-related fires represent the bulk of home fires and are 20 percent more likely to occur during December and January than at any other two-month period during the year.
 "The increase in home fires during the holidays results from unsafe use of holiday decorations and greater use of heating appliances to combat cold weather," says Harrington.
 Holiday celebrants can take the following steps to help ensure a fire-safe, happy holiday season:
 Decorate safely
 -- Use UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.)-tested exterior lights to decorate the exterior of your home. Do not use inside lights outside.
 -- If you have a real tree, keep it well-watered and away from
 radiators and other heat sources. When the tree's needles start to fall, move it outside -- quickly.
 -- Keep decorative (UL-tested) tree lights away from paper ornaments, and make sure the wires aren't frayed and the colored bulbs don't have any bare "white" spots. Bare spots are a sign that the bulb burns too hot, which can cause fires.
 -- Turn on exterior and interior tree lights only when you're home, and turn them off when you go to sleep.
 -- Do not overload extension cords.
 -- Do not hang stockings near unprotected fires.
 -- Keep candles away from the tree, paper tablecloths, as well as other paper decorations and flammable materials (including curtains). Blow them out when leaving the room.
 -- Do not discard wrapping paper in the fireplace; that can create chimney fires.
 Guarding against cold weather
 -- Keep space heaters, especially gas and kerosene ones, away from curtains and other flammable materials. And place them in an area where they can't get knocked over.
 -- Do not, under any circumstances, use the kitchen stove or other cooking appliance as a source of warmth.
 -- Never use a charcoal burner or camp stove indoors.
 Protecting the family
 -- Keep matches, lighters and lit candles out of reach of children.
 -- Do not leave unattended children in rooms with lit fires.
 -- Double check smoke detectors to make sure they're working; replace batteries if required.
 ITT Hartford, a subsidiary of ITT Corp. (NYSE: ITT), is one of the nation's oldest and largest international insurance and financial services operations. Member companies offer commercial property and casualty insurance, automobile and homeowners coverages, and a variety of life insurance, employee benefit and asset management plans.
 Percentage of Electrical-Related Home Fires in 1992(a)
 January -- 10.97 percent
 February -- 9.59 percent
 March -- 8.83 percent
 April -- 7.78 percent
 May -- 7.55 percent
 June -- 7.75 percent
 July -- 7.88 percent
 August -- 6.27 percent
 September -- 6.24 percent
 October -- 7.22 percent
 November -- 8.01 percent
 December -- 11.85 percent
 NOTE: (a) ITT Hartford Insurance Group
 -0- 12/9/93
 /CONTACT: Connie Gurney, 203-547-6237 (office), or 203-521-3192 (home), or Sue Honeyman, 203-547-4976 (office), or 203-397-9233 (home), both of ITT Hartford/

CO: ITT Hartford Insurance Group; ITT Corp ST: Connecticut IN: INS SU:

CM-DJ -- NEFNS1 -- 2027 12/09/93 07:32 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 9, 1993

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