Did you know that nearly 90% of Americans decorate their homes as part of the winter holiday season? That’s a lot of people decking the halls, and we all know that these days most of us are using more than holly to make the season jolly!
Unfortunately, around 160 fires and 12,500 emergency room visits related to holiday decorating occur each year. If your home or business participates in the season’s festivities, keep these things in mind for safety’s sake:
Put out the flames. Almost half of decoration-related fires are started by candles. With that in mind, we strongly advise the use of battery-operated flameless candles. If you feel you must use the real thing, keep flames away from anything flammable and never use unsupervised.
Water the tree . . . Real trees and greenery are charming, but only if well maintained. Live trees must be watered and watched for signs of brittle branches and needles, which are prone to fire. While you don’t have to water artificial trees, you should make sure they are flame retardant and kept at least 3 feet away from heat sources.
But not the electricity. Electricity and water never mix. Keep cords away from water, always. Also avoid using nails or staples, as well as placing cords under rugs or heavy furniture, which can damage insulation.
Purchase wisely. Purchase your decorations and lights from reputable dealers and watch for recalls. Consider LED lights, which are not made from glass and are cool to the touch.
Discard damaged items. Replace damaged bulbs, ornaments, etc. immediately. Be certain that wattage of the replacement is appropriate. Do not use light strings with cracking, fraying or bare wires. Monitor for damage throughout the season.
Don’t overload. As we’ve advised before, don’t string together too many strands of lights (general rule of thumb is 3) or overload electrical outlets.
Remember, decorations are not child’s play. Never allow young children to play with decorations, even those that look like toys. Cover unused outlets and keep cords out of reach.
In order to keep your season merry and bright, please keep all of these safety items in mind and click on our sources to learn more. We wish you a happy, safe holiday season!
Sources: ESFI, NFPA, CPSC, ChristmasLightsEtc