Stay safe this holiday season - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Stay safe this holiday season

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Tis' the season for Christmas trees and holiday lights, but if you are not careful, those things could turn the holiday season into tragedy.

Harrison County Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said, "A Christmas tree that is a dried out tree is like pouring gas on a fire. When that thing goes, it is so volatile, so flammable and it really will get away from you and burn down the house."

Sullivan said to avoid a house fire make sure to keep your tree watered. Artificial trees are safer, but he said you still have to worry about the lights you hang on the tree and any lights you hang outside your home.

"We recommend that you turn them off when you go to bed. That way you don't have an energized electric wire going around your house all night long," Sullivan said.

He also cautions you not to nail or staple lights to your home.

"That's dangerous because it breaks the insulation it can short and cause a fire that way," Sullivan said.

Besides Christmas decorations, the winter months also bring about other fire hazards. Sullivan said if you choose to stay warm by lighting your fireplace, make sure to have it checked every year and never burn anything but firewood.

"We've have actually had people set their house on fire by trying to burn all of their boxes after Christmas," Sullivan said.

For those who enjoy a bonfire, Sullivan said make sure to check with your neighborhood or city to find out what their rules are regarding outdoor fires.

"Always stay watching it, don't leave it, make sure it's not a windy day so it does blow embers out and make sure you have the tools to put the fire out," Sullivan said.

For more tips on holiday and Christmas tree fire safety, visit: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/holiday-seasonal/holiday.shtm.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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