Holiday Decorating: 10 Do's & Don'ts That May Help Prevent Fires & Injury! by Donna John
During the holidays, thousands of people are injured and millions of dollars in property losses are reported as a result of falls, fires and other incidents associated with decorations. Common incident scenarios involve fires from dried-out trees and clippings, burns from open-flame candles and falls while attempting to hang holiday decorations. Here are a few safety tips from the CPSC!
- When purchasing a live tree, DO check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and its needles do not break when bent between your fingers.
- When setting up a tree at home, DO place it away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents and radiators.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, DO look for the label, "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, it does indicate that the tree is more resistant to catching fire.
- In homes with small children, DO take special care to avoid sharp, weighted or breakable decorations.
- Indoors or outdoors, DO use only lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets. DON'T use electric lights on a metallic tree.
- If using an extension cord, DO make sure it is rated for the intended use.
- When using lights outdoors, DO check labels to be sure that the lights have been certified for outdoor use, and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.
- Keep burning candles within sight. DO extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.
- DO keep candles on a stable heat-resistant surface where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over.
Get a free brochure with more holiday decorating safety tips from CPSC's website (PDF).