MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – If you’re planning on decking out your home in holiday lights, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it without putting your home at risk for fire.
According to the American Red Cross, nearly 47,000 fires occur during the holiday season. To avoid becoming part of that static, here are some tips when setting up your decorations.
Lieutenant Jonathan Evans with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department recommends that if you’re missing a bulb from your lights and you can’t replace it, you should get a whole new string.
It is usually not safe to string more than three sets of lights together because that can cause an overload of electricity.
“They do make these plastic clips. That’s what we’ve used in the past in our family, that you can put up there,” said Evans. “Obviously with the nails and staple guns and things like that, they could puncture the sheathing on the lighting and it could expose those wires and cause an issue. So, you definitely don’t want to do that or definitely don’t want to staple them because that could change the integrity of the light.”
It’s also important to check and make sure the lights you buy are approved. You can make sure they have the approval seal by checking the end of the string of lights for a tag that says “UL,” which typically means they have been tested and approved.
Evans also said it’s important to know not to use indoor lights outside, but it’s okay to use your outdoor lights inside.
Indoor lights weren’t made to withstand rain and weather, but outdoor lights are more durable and can be used either inside or outside.
If you are planning on picking out a Christmas tree for your house, Evans said real trees are more flammable than artificial trees, so it’s important to remember to water it continuously if you have a real tree. However, artificial trees are not without their issues. Remember to keep open candles or flames away from any kind of tree in your house, real or fake.
“They’re definitely a much safer alternative than using a real Christmas tree and they would last a lot longer and you can put them out year after year versus a real Christmas tree,” said Evans, “Of course you don’t get the same effect from it, but it could be a safer alternative.”
Remember to blow out any candles or shut off your lights if you leave the house to prevent starting a fire that way as well.
For more winter safety tips visit http://www.esfi.org/winter-safety.
If you have a safe and dazzling Christmas lights display, submit a photo of it for our Light Up the Night Contest – the winner will win a ticket to the Great Christmas Light show in North Myrtle Beach.
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