The holidays are a time for joyous celebrations. But trees and lights and decorations also call for careful consideration. Here are a few tips to help keep you and your family safe when decorating this season:
Inspect your lights When putting up lights – both inside and outside your home – carefully inspect them. Before you put them up, look for things like frayed wires, bare spots, and excessive kinking or wear. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory, like UL.
Don’t overload outlets Don’t link more than three light strands unless the directions say it’s safe to do so. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Check the wires periodically; they shouldn’t be warm to the touch. If they are, unplug them.
Never leave holiday lights on unattended!
Use only nonflammable decorations All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents/sources. If you use a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it’s flame retardant.
Don't block exits Make sure trees and other holiday decorations don’t block an exterior doorway in your home. If there’s a fire, time is of the essence when making your escape. A blocked doorway puts you and your family at risk.
Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace When you throw wrapping paper in the fireplace, it can quickly cause a very large fire and throw off dangerous sparks and embers that could result in a chimney fire.
Never leave a burning candle unattended Peppermint. Pine. Cookies. Many people love to burn candles with holiday scents at this time of year. But any candle with a flame is dangerous so you may wish to consider using battery-operated flameless candles. They can look and smell like real candles.
If you do use lit candles If you do choose to burn “real” candles, make sure they’re in stable holders and placed where they can’t be easily knocked over. Keep these candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. And avoid using candles in bedrooms and other sleeping areas.
Never put lit candles on a tree While our ancestors did this many years ago, it goes without saying that it’s VERY dangerous. In fact, don’t even go near a Christmas tree with an open flame, including candles, lighters, or matches.