11 Dec Ten Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating
10 Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating
Seasonal decorations, including lights, trees, inflatables, and wreaths, can help put your household in the holiday spirit. However, when not used properly, decorations–particularly lights–can create safety hazards or cause fires.
Keep your family safe during the holidays! Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for each item to understand how to properly use them. In addition, follow these tips to ensure your holiday lights and decorations are installed correctly:
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1 Keep freshly cut trees away from heat sources. Place your tree away from fireplaces and heaters and keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Freshly cut trees are highly flammable, due to needles and sap.
2. Hydrate your tree. A dried-out tree can catch fire faster than one that has been properly watered. Check the water level every other day to ensure proper hydration.
3. Double check lights for frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. Discard and replace damaged strands. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission issued new guidelines for seasonal light safety in 2015, setting a minimum wire size, and standards for strain relief and over-current protection.
4. When decorating outside, keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines. Ensure the ladder is securely placed on the ground before climbing.
5. Do not hammer tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights. Use clips to safely attach lights to the house instead.
6. Beware of poisonous plants. While festive, poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of reach of kids and pets.
7. If possible, outdoor lights and inflatable decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). GFCIs help prevent electric shock by breaking the circuit when differences in the currents of hot and neutral wires occur.
8. Use a timer or turn off lights before going to bed, or if you will be away from home to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.
9. Indoor lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting. Keep lit candles away from flammable items, too.
10. Prevent tripping by placing cords and decorations in low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on. Avoid twisting, kinking or crushing cords.
Additionally, if you have children in your home, use safety caps on all electrical outlets that are not in use to prevent shock. Avoid sharp, weighted or breakable decorations if you have small children. Keep pieces with small, removable parts out of reach and avoid those that look like candy or food so that small children won’t be tempted to eat them.
By taking the proper precautions you can prevent hazards and focus on friends and family during the holidays. Remember to periodically check lights and decorations throughout the season to ensure they continue to operate safely.