NEW YORK (PIX11) — With the holiday season underway, so is the time for decorating your home. But as you put up that Christmas tree or light the menorah, firefighters are urging residents to keep fire safety in mind.

It’s many families’ worst nightmare. The Christmas tree you’ve spent precious time picking out and decorating is now up in flames. It’s a scene that happens more often than you might think. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires each year across the country.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman met with Nassau County Firefighters to discuss fire safety. They conducted the demonstration to emphasize how quickly your sparkly holiday decor can turn to deadly flames.

There are some simple steps to take to stay safe this holiday season. For starters, have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.

With the recent drought and unseasonably warm weather, chances are you might find trees that are dehydrated. When picking one out, a simple test will do the trick.

“If you take your hand and rub it on a branch and come away with a handful of needles, that’s not good. Or if you bounce it on the ground and it’s snowing needles. Don’t take the tree,” warns Fire Chief John Murray.

Fire officials also recommend having a natural tree inside the home for no more than ten to 14 days. Keep it hydrated in a safe space away from drapes.

Also, never overload a circuit. If the lights twinkle, it’s time for a new one. When it comes to candle safety, don’t leave them unattended.

Finally, in the event of a fire, have an escape plan. If you have a basement, installing an egress window is a safe bet. It offers benefits twofold; it’s a great escape for families and creates access for firefighters.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to getting through the holidays safely.