Use care with Christmas decorations

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, many households across Pearl River County have decorated their home for Christmas, including a tree and decorations on the exterior of their home.

Decorating a home during this time of the year should be done safely to avoid disaster by utilizing the appropriate steps.

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To begin the decorating process, many people begin by choosing whether to put up a real or synthetic Christmas tree. Picayune Fire Department Firefighter Joey Reynolds said one of the best ways to prevent a house fire is by watering real Christmas trees every day.

Picayune Fire Marshal Pat Weaver said that before putting up Christmas lights, whether inside or outside the home, to double-check the wiring. Outdoor lighting should be made specifically for that purpose and be approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Weaver also said Christmas lights should be turned off when everyone goes to bed. Weaver also suggests avoiding putting a Christmas tree in front of an exit to the home, even if it’s not used daily. Candles should be used in an appropriate holder to avoid the risk of starting a fire and should be extinguished prior to bedtime.

Another way to prevent a house fire is to avoid overloading extension cords with too many electrical devices, Reynolds said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2011 and 2015, an average of 200 house fires started because of a Christmas tree. Those fires caused an average of six deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in property damage.

“After you set up your holiday decorations in your home, make sure to take all the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety in order to avoid any tragic accidents,” Weaver said.