The holidays are here and our thoughts are turning to festive times spent with family and friends. As you dust off the decorations and prepare to deck the halls, Entergy has joined with the Beaumont Fire Rescue to remind you to keep safety as your top priority. Check out these important safety and energy-saving tips when lighting up the season.

Keep Your Distance

“Respect electricity at all times,” said Vernon Pierce, vice president of customer service. “If you’re putting up outdoor lights, stay away from overhead power lines and the line that brings service to your home. Use a fiberglass or wooden ladder that doesn’t conduct electricity, and never replace bulbs when the electricity is on.”

When outdoors, also make sure that the lights used are designated for outdoor use and keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes. Also, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.

Complete Your Inspection

Always inspect your lights before you use them – if the cords are worn or frayed, throw them away. Make sure the lights have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory.

“Always make sure all of the light sockets have bulbs in them,” Pierce said. “Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets.

“Better yet, for greater efficiency and safety, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights,” he added. “LED bulbs use up to 90 percent less energy than a traditional bulb to produce the same amount of light.”

Whichever type of lights you choose be especially careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or even whole circuits in the house.

Watch the Tree

One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. That’s according to the National Fire Protection Association, which notes that while Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they have a higher chance to be deadly.

“A heat source too close to the tree causes about one in every six of the fires,” said Brad Penisson, Beaumont Fire Rescue spokesperson. “Other causes are candles, electrical malfunctions and decorative lights. We urge our residents to always have at least one working smoke detector in their homes.”

When decorating with live trees, keep your family safe by following these tips:

•             If using a live tree, make sure it is fresh and green, with needles that are hard to pull from the branches.

•             Place the tree in a stand with water, well away from heaters or the fireplace. Check water daily.

•             Keep bulbs from touching tree branches. Never burn candles on or near the tree and never use flammable decorations.

•             Never use lights on a metallic tree. If the lights become faulty, the entire tree could be electrified.

“Finally, whether your holiday lighting is indoors, outside or both, always turn holiday lights off when away from home or asleep,” Penisson said. “You’ll save money and help ensure a safe and happy holiday season.”

Entergy Texas, Inc. delivers electricity to more than 426,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.