Holiday lights can quickly become hazardous, experts say

Holiday lights can quickly become hazardous, experts say
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Don Kazery, Kazery Christmas Tree Farm in Jackson, MS
MPB News

Experts are warning Mississippians to take precautions lighting the tree this holiday season. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Nearly half of Christmas tree fires involve decorative lights, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Christmas tree fires nationwide have resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 15 injuries and 12 million dollars in property damages.

Mara Hartmann is a spokesperson for Entergy Mississippi.

"Once a tree dries out, it becomes very very flammable. And, if you have a faulty string of lights or if it's a little too close to the fireplace and maybe a spark comes out of the fireplace well it can catch that Christmas tree on fire and it will go up in a matter of seconds," said Hartmann.

Don Kazery owns a Christmas Tree Farm in Jackson. He says if buying a live tree, keep these things in mind.

"The Leland cypress tree on the market is one of the safest Christmas trees you can buy because it is well hydrated. The other thing that helps today is a lot of the lights these LED type lights don't create the heat," said Kazery.

Mara Hartmann with Entergy Mississippi also warns citizens to be safe hanging lights outside the home.

"One of the first things you need to do is be very conscious of any lines that are overhead because we have all kinds of lines coming into our house. you know, sometimes phone lines, cable lines, and your electrical service lines. Especially if you're carrying a ladder, cause you can hit them with a ladder and you want to use a ladder that is not metal that's non-conducting so maybe a wooden ladder or fiberglass ladder when you're working with strings of lights," said Hartmann.

A list of holiday lighting safety tips is at Ashley Norwood, MPB News.