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Tips for a safe holiday

From Sherriff Kevin Sawyer

“With the holiday season upon us and winter’s low temperatures, the chances of a fire occurring in your home dramatically increase,” said Sheriff Kevin Sawyer of Tyrrell County. “Decorations, candles and Christmas trees are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays.”

Sheriff Sawyer reminds all Tyrrell County residents to follow these fire prevention safety tips:

Christmas Trees:

Select a fresh Christmas tree that has been kept in water at all times. The needles on a fresh tree should be green and hard to pull from branches. When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles show that the tree is too dry and is a fire hazard.

Leave the tree outside until ready to decorate.

The tree stand should hold at least one gallon of water. A 6′ tree will use one gallon of water every two days. The water level should be checked daily.

Secure the tree with wire to keep it from tipping and be sure the tree is placed at least three feet from floor heaters, fire places, or other heat sources.

Dispose of the tree properly.

Never burn a real tree, wreaths, or wrapping paper in a fireplace.


Inspect lights before using them to ensure they don’t have frayed wires, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, or excessive wear. Avoid overloading electrical outlets.

Turn off Christmas lights when you sleep, or if you will be away from home for an extended time. Never use candles in place of light strands, even on artificial trees.

Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant.

Never place trimmings near open flames or electrical connections

Remove all wrapping paper from trees and fireplace areas immediately after presents are opened.

Keep matches, lighters and candles out of reach of children. Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.

“The holiday season is a joyful time in Tyrrell County, filled with generosity, warmth, family and tradition,” Sheriff Sawyer concluded, “But let’s make it a safe time as well.”