Holiday Tree, Lights and Decoration Safety Tips
The holidays can bring dangers associated with improper use of
decorative lighting, dried out Christmas trees, unsafe lights
and unattended burning candles. Here are some tips for a decorating
your home in a safe way.
Tree: Be sure to buy a fresh tree. Look for deep green trees
whose needles are hard to pull off from the branch. The trunk should
be sticky with resin. If you are buying an artificial tree, look for
“Fire Resistant” before purchasing. All trees should be placed away
from fireplaces and out of the way of traffic. Make sure tree
stands are full of water at all times.
Lights: Use only lights that have been tested by Underwriters
Laboratories or another
recognized testing laboratory. You will see a UL on the label to
show they were tested by Underwriters Laboratories. Use only lights
that have fused plugs and check all lights for any problems with
loose connections or fraying. Replace all burned out bulbs
with bulbs of the same type. Using different wattage bulbs can cause
Never connect more than 3 strands of lights together or use electric
lights on a metallic
tree. Before using any outdoor lights be sure they have been
certified for outdoor use.
Since damage or a short circuit could quickly start a fire, turn off
all holiday lights when
you go to bed or leave the house. All outdoor electric lights
and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by
ground-fault circuit-interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs have been installed
on exterior circuits in new homes since the 1970s and can be added
in older homes. Fasten all outdoor lights securely from wind using
insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails, tacks or
Use only non-combustible or flame resistant materials. Do not use
any leaded materials as they are hazardous if ingested by children.
Avoid sharp or breakable ornaments in and ornaments with small
pieces in homes with small children. Also avoid ornaments that look
like candy or food that might tempt a child to eat them.
Follow directions on artificial sprays to avoid eye irritation.
Finally do not bun wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire
may result as wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burns intensely.
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