Holiday decorations are appearing across the Magnolia State and communities are gearing up for annual Christmas parades and other holiday events. Between now and New Year’s Day, homes across Mississippi are lit for the season’s celebrations.
Along with the coziness of holiday lights, candles and fireplaces, there are also dangers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2012 and 2016 U.S. fire departments responded to an average 170 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of four deaths, 15 injuries and $12 million in direct property damage each year. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 43 percent of home Christmas tree fires.
Put safety first this holiday season with a few simple reminders and precautions.
· If using a live tree, make sure it is fresh and green with needles that are hard to pull from the branches.
· Place the tree in a stand with water, well away from heaters or the fireplace. Check water daily.
· Examine all lights before putting them on the tree or using them in other home decorations. Do not use lights with frayed wiring or loose sockets, and make sure they have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory.
· For greater efficiency and safety, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights.
· Make sure all light sockets have bulbs in them. Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets.
· Keep bulbs from touching tree branches. Never burn candles on or near the tree and never use flammable decorations.
· Never use lights on a metallic tree. If the lights become faulty, the entire tree could be electrified.
· Be careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or even whole circuits in the house.
· Turn off decorative lighting when you leave the room.
· Place wires where they cannot trip anyone. Do not run them under rugs.
· Make sure the lights used are designated for outdoor use.
· Use a non-conducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights. Also, stay clear of all overhead wires.
· Do not replace bulbs when the electricity is on.
· Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic or dry grass and leaves.
· For outside use, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.
· Use rubber gaskets in light sockets or hang sockets downward to keep water out.
· Keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes. Turn outside holiday lights off when away from home or asleep.
Entergy Mississippi, LLC provides electricity to approximately 449,000 customers in 45 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees.