The holiday season is a time for celebrating and, for many, a time to decorate the home with lights, greenery, and candles. While these decorations can be quite beautiful and add to the magic of the season they can also be very dangerous if not cared for properly.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration fires during the holiday season claim the lives of 400 Americans each year! The risk of fire can be greatly reduced by following these ten precautions.
- Check your smoke detector and replace batteries if needed. Many people make this a habit to do during daylight savings time.
- Check that live greenery is fresh and hasn’t dried out before purchasing it. The needles should be hard to pull off and should stay in place if the tree is bounced on the ground. The trunk of a tree should also be sticky.
- Make sure artificial greenery is flame-resistant. They should extinguish quickly in case of fire.
- Do not use electric lights on a metallic tree. A faulty light could charge the tree which in turn could electrocute anyone who touches it.
- Always check lights before displaying them. Make sure the wires and light sockets are in good order and replace any bulbs that are out.
- Do not overload extension cords. One extension cord can safely provide electricity to a maximum of three standard light strings.
- Keep candles away from greenery. Do not use real candles on trees or garland. Place candles in non-flammable holders in a space where they will not be knocked down.
- Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. The materials in wrapping paper can cause large, intense flames and dangerous sparks.
- Keep children safe. Make sure breakable decorations and lighters, matches, and candles are kept safely away from the reach of little children.
- Turn out the lights. Sleep tight, only after all lights have been turned off and fires put out.
Enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!