Stay firesmart when decorating for the holidays

Christmas trees are a holiday tradition for many, a tradition that is often accompanied by holiday decorations. The Biloxi Fire Department is asking residents to keep fire safety in mind while choosing a tree and decorating.

“Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious,” said Biloxi Fire Chief Nick Geiser. “This can become more of an issue as time goes by and trees are not properly watered.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees spark an average of 150 home fires per year. As for the decorations, it is estimated that U.S. firefighters respond to an average of nearly 800 home structure fires per year that begin with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. 

Firefighters are asking that when you choose your tree, make sure it is fresh and that the limbs are still flexible so that it still has moisture. Also, make sure to water the Christmas tree every day so that it does not dry out. 

Once you get the tree home, set up the tree at least three feet from the fireplace or any other heat source. Make sure to use indoor tree lights, preferably LED lights, which produce no heat, and turn the tree lights off before going to bed or before leaving the house.

“When decorating your tree with holiday lights, you want to be careful,” said Biloxi Deputy Fire Chief Caleb Hudson. “Look at them. Make sure there are no cuts or tears in the strings of lights.” 

Strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections could be a fire hazard and should be replaced before using them. 

“You also want to make sure you use only the number of strings recommended by the manufacturer when connecting the lights together,” Deputy Chief Hudson added. 

When it comes to wiring, these safety measures also apply to outdoor decorations.

Biloxi firefighters also ask that you turn off the lights on the tree when you leave the house or go to bed. 

Added Geiser: “As always, make sure that you have a working smoke detector and fire extinguishers to help stay “fire smart” during the holidays.”
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News & notes: Reports, council, Christmas events

The week that was: Each week the Police, Fire, Community Development, Engineering, and Public Works report on the activities of the departments. To see the week-by-week archive of reports, including one for last week, click here.

Council meeting: The Biloxi City Council held its last November meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Biloxi City Hall. To see a video of the meeting and a list of all City Council meetings, click here.

Lighting of the Biloxi Lighthouse: Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and his wife, Serena, invite the public to join them as they flip the switch and turn on the holiday lights at the Biloxi Lighthouse on Thursday, Nov. 30 form 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event is free and includes hot chocolate and cookies. The Biloxi Visitors Center Christmas shirts and ornaments will also be available for purchase.

Children’s Christmas Parade: Inclement weather is expected on Friday and Saturday which may damper some holiday festivities. The Biloxi Parks & Recreation office will make a decision on Friday at noon whether to continue with, cancel, or reschedule the Christmas on the Water Children’s Parade and Town Green lighting, currently set for Friday at 6 and 6:30 p.m.