While decorating our homes for the holidays, it’s crucial that we remember to protect our investments–and more importantly–our lives. Hospital emergency rooms treat approximately 12,500 people a year for injuries (broken bones, lacerations, electrical shocks) received while decorating for the holidays, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Ensure your home, yourself, and your family are safe by following these helpful tips.
- Always keep burning candles within eyesight and away from trees and wrapping paper. Speaking of wrapping paper, never throw it into the fireplace. It ignites suddenly and burns intensely, which may cause a flash fire.
- Check your holiday lights before putting them up to make sure they have been tested by a recognized lab and meet safety standards. A red label means the lights can be used both indoors and out. A green label means they can be used indoors only.
- Make sure lights (new or old) are free of broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard any lights that are damaged.
- Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per each extension cord.
- Ensure all lights on trees or other items are unplugged before you go to sleep or leave the home.
- Never place lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become electrically charged and cause electrocution if the tree is touched.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to protect them from wind damage.
- For artificial trees, make sure the label indicates it is “fire resistant”. For real trees, keep them well hydrated and fresh.
- Place trees away from fireplaces and radiators, as well as out of the doorway and high traffic areas.
- Use thin wires to secure a large tree to the walls or ceiling. These wires are nearly invisible and will prevent the tree from toppling over. This is especially important if you have mischievous pets.
- Keep children and pets in mind by placing non-toxic and unbreakable ornaments on the lower branches of the tree. Use ribbon instead of metal hooks to prevent choking or injury.
- Keep your inflatable outdoor decorations from blowing away by securing them properly. They can easily become dangerous, flying objects. Shut off fan blowers when it’s windy outside or when you aren’t going to be home for long periods of time.