Keep the holidays happy: Be safe!

California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma offers helpful tips on how to keep your holidays hazard-free!

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Generally the holidays are happy times. But a moment's carelessness, an open flame, an intrusion by thieves, can steal that happiness away. A list of tips compiled and released by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, the National Fire Protection Association and California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma can deflect tragedies that turn holidays to heartache.

While you shop for those ideal gifts, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office has tips to help you make sure you aren't shopping for thieves too. Those include:

To maintain safety at home, the National Fire Protection Association shares tips to guard against something very common at this time of year: fires started by festive lighting, windowsill candles and even Christmas trees.

Fires started from those sources can be more deadly than typical home fires. According to NFPA data, in 2005-2009, holiday and decorative lighting were involved in an estimated average of 150 home fires during that time, causing an average of eight civilian deaths, 14 injuries and $8.5 million in property damage.

"Though decorations such as candles or Christmas trees certainly spread holiday cheer, it is important to follow basic safety steps so celebrations go off without a hitch," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of communications.

Tips include:

For Christmas tree safety, the NFPA warns:

In addition, Ma offered the following fire safety tips for the holidays in a presentation she gave Dec. 6 at the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. A Christmas tree was set on fire during her talk to illustrate the dangers of not taking precautions.