Holiday decorations can also be fire hazards. State Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has released tips for preventing home fires caused by such displays.

“Celebrations can quickly turn into tragedies if you aren’t careful,” he said in a press release.

Potential dangers include Christmas trees, holiday lights and fireplaces.

Christmas trees

  • Check the tree for freshness by tapping it on the ground or brushing the tips of limbs with your fingertips. Very few needles should come off.
  • Place the tree in a stand designed not to tip over, and keep plenty of water in the stand.
  • Do not place the tree near a fireplace, television or other heat sources.

Holiday lights

  • Buy lights labeled by a testing laboratory and always check for frayed or damaged cords.
  • For outside decorations, use only outdoor lights. Never use indoor lights outside.
  • Always unplug all decorative lights before leaving home or going to bed. Don’t overload electrical outlets.


  • Do not light fires while stockings are hanging on the fireplace.
  • Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace; it can flare up and ignite creosote deposits in the flue.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.