Fire Marshal gives tips on safe outdoor lighting

Fire Marshal gives tips on safe outdoor lighting
A Longview


Fire Marshal Gives Tips on Safe Outdoor Lighting

The way the Weather changes in East Texas you may want to be extra sure those Christmas lights you have outside your home are all up to spec.

We spoke with a fire marshal about do’s and don’ts of lighting up the night with Christmas cheer.

Some people take great pride in spreading holiday spirit throughout the neighborhood evenings in December. Longview Fire Marshal Kevin May says you might want to take a close look at them.

“When you’re hanging your Christmas lights that your lights as well as your extension cords are rated for exterior use,” May said.

Interior cords are:

“Not equipped to handle the elements of the environment,” May explained.

He says a quick check of the tag on the cord will tell you if they’re okay, but inside cords outside are trouble.

“You could have a short in your extension cord. If your vegetation is dry or maybe you’ve got the lights hanging off your gutters and the gutters haven’t been cleaned out, and they’ve got leaves and debris in them and it’s dry then you could start a fire,” May revealed.

Things homeowner Dawn Barber says her husband is well aware of when he puts up their lights.

“They test it and make sure everything’s good and nothing’s shorted out or all the lights work and no shorts,” Barber said.

As do professional installers, who did some of the homes shown here.

Linking multiple lights to one socket could be dangerous too.

“If you’ve got a problem with your breakers or with your electrical panel then you can very easily start a fire,” May said.

And he says bulbs should be periodically checked.

“If you’ll notice we’ve got condensation that’s built up in this light. So we could potentially have an issue,” May said.

That’s an easy fix.

“Bulb just needs to be changed out,” May said.

He also says don’t plug cords into each other.

“Make sure you have cords long enough to reach your outlets,” May added.

May says the way weather changes in East Texas you don’t want the holidays turning into a holi-blaze.

May also says if you have older lights it’s a good idea to upgrade to LEDs. He says they burn much cooler and can reduce the risk of fire dramatically.

So far this year Longview has not had a Christmas decor related fire.

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