Holiday decoration brings family time, safety hazards

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The days following Thanksgiving are filled with holiday traditions like shopping, Christmas tree decoration and for some, decorating their house and yard for the holidays.

But with all the sights and sounds of the holidays, comes hazards to personal safety and property. The stringing of hundreds of lights on trees and homes can increase the risk of fire, so it's important to do things the right way.

Some safety tips to keep in mind offered by FEMA are:

- Keep your lights in good working order: Make sure there aren't any tears or frays in the wires.

- Don't overload electrical outlets: Spread them out among different plug-ins.

- Don't leave your lights are unattended: When you leave your home, turn off your holiday lights.

One family has been decorating the outside of their home for 25 years and this year they are stringing over 11,000 lights.

Dan McMillon said his decoration has grown from just a few hundred lights outside to the eye-popping number he has reached this year.

McMillon was joined by his family to decorate this year, "Most of the time it's just me and my wife doing it, I'm tickled to death they are helping out this year," said McMillon. He added that last year he spent 41 man hours putting up his lights and decorations and with the help of his family, he will cut that number by over half.

But he said it's not just saving time that he enjoys about having the help of his family. "It's great to get out here and spend time with them while we are doing something like this," said McMillon.

Even though there was still plenty of work to be done by the McMillon family in the process of stringing their 11,000 lights, Dan doesn't lose sight of why he does it. "It's just great to see the people drive by the house and slow down and say 'Hey, the house looks great!'," he said.

McMillon also said that his titanic task of decorating his home has earned him a nickname from a famous Christmas movie, "My neighbor came by with his wife and said 'Are you going to put up any more lights this year Griswold?' I really liked that," said McMillon. However he did add that he strings his lights while they are turned on to avoid any unexpected malfunctions while plugging them, like what happened to the famous Clark Griswold during his Christmas light struggle during "Christmas Vacation".

For a link to the holiday safety tips on the FEMA website go to: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/holiday-seasonal/holiday.shtm

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