As the song goes, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”! There are holiday decorations, Christmas trees and holiday cheer all around. As you are putting up your decorations both indoors and outdoors or choosing your live Christmas tree, there are certain safety tips that you should follow to make sure that your home is safe from fire hazards. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, Christmas trees and holiday decorations fires result in twice the injuries and five times more fatalities than an average winter fire. There is an average of 250 home fires a year that began with Christmas tree fires resulting in millions of dollars of damage. Keep your family and home safe this holiday season by following these simple steps for candles, holiday lights and Christmas trees:
1. Most fire safety experts recommend not to use candles. Use battery-operated candles in their place.
2. Place candles away from combustible items such as decorations, greenery, and wrapping paper.
3. Put candle displays in places where they can’t be knocked over. Do not place them on a table in a high traffic area.
4. Never keep an open flame unattended. Always keep a burning candle within your sight.
5. Extinguish all candles before you leave the room, go to bed or leave the house.
6. Never put candles on a Christmas tree.
1. Use lights that have been tested for safety from an independent testing laboratory.
2. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires or loose connections. Throw away the damaged lights or repair them before use. Unplug the lights before replacing the bulbs or fuses.
3. Fasten outdoor lights firmly to the trees or the house.
4. Periodically check the light wires. The wires should not be warm to the touch when in use.
5. Use no more than 3 standard sets of lights per one extension cord.
6. Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available in the room and where they are located. Then, plan your decoration placement according to the outlets.
7. Use LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
1. Many artificial trees are fire resistant. Check the label on the tree to make sure that the trees have this notification.
2. A fresh tree will stay green longer and will be less of a fire hazard than a dry one. Fresh trees are green, the needles are hard to pull off and the trunk is sticky with resin.
3. Place trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.
4. Heated rooms dry out trees quicker, which can cause them to become fire hazards.
5. Cut off 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Place the live tree in a sturdy stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water the entire time that the tree is indoors.
6. Do not place Christmas trees in high traffic areas of the home.Trees can be knocked over if placed in high traffic areas, which in turn can knock over other displays. Also, trees should never block doorways.
7. When a tree starts to drop needles, it means that it is drying out and that it is time to get rid of it.
Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov
Electric Safety Foundation International: http://www.esfi.org
U. S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/holiday-seasonal/holiday.shtm