MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The holidays are here and that means food, family and decorations. Holiday lights and Christmas trees are popping up all over town, but do you know how to protect your home during the holiday season?
"I usually start decorating a week before Thanksgiving so I can have my whole house decorated," holiday shopper Kay Pike said. "I love Christmas."
"I like to listen to Christmas music when I'm decorating the tree," holiday shopper Francine Liles said. "Just puts you in a good mood."
But Scrooge could ruin your good mood if you're not careful with your holiday decorations. According to the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration, there are about 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting every year. All these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.
The most wonderful time of the year won't be ruined as long as you take precaution. If you have a real tree in your home, keep it in a tight area where it won't get much draft.
"You want to make sure that tree stays as green as possible, so keep it watered," Home Depot employee Kendall McNeal said.
If you don't keep it watered, you can forget rockin' around the Christmas tree.
"If the tree dries out, there's a very good chance if you did have a fire it would ignite very quickly," McNeal said.
He says fake trees can also be dangerous.
"You want to make sure that all the lights are in good working order," McNeal said. "You don't want to continue to use the same tree over and over and over again."
You also should check all your decorative lighting to make sure the wires aren't nicked and the bulbs aren't worn out. McNeal says don't forget to keep track of how much you plug in.
"It's only recommended to use 5 to 7 strands on one outlet," he said.
A big tip for everyone, no matter if you have a fake tree or a real one: don't leave the lights on unattended. Also, make sure your smoke alarm is working properly.
Click here for more holiday decoration safety tips from the NFPA and the USFA.