The Hickory Fire Department issued some pointers for holiday safety.
Officials say the holiday season is often characterized by fires, and many of those fires are the result of improper use and placement of seasonal decorations.
The following list can help everyone have a happier holiday season:
Keep light strings and other electrical decorations out of reach of children and pets. They are attracted to pretty lights and decorations.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use tree lights. Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used.
Make sure all the lights you use are UL listed or by a listed by a testing laboratory.
Remember some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outside.
Never use real lighted candles on a tree or near evergreen or draperies.
Follow all manufacturers specifications when replacing burned out fuses on decorative light strings. Never use anything but the properly rated fuse.
If using a live tree, make sure you buy a fresh one and be sure to water it daily. Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles. Check for fresh, green needles and place your tree in a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.
Always place your tree away from any heat source, and out of travel paths. Never block a door or exit with your decorations.
If you use an artificial tree, be sure it is listed as fire resistant.
Always turn off tree lights, window lamps, and other electrical decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.
For more information, call the Hickory Fire Department at 828-323-7521.