Every year in the United States, about 14,000 people are treated in emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating. These statistics come from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). While holiday lighting and electrical decorations to contribute to the splendor of the seasons, they can also significantly increase fire and electrical injury risks if not used safety. Here are some tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) on how to safely decorate for the holidays.
Christmas Tree Safety
- If purchasing a live tree, check to ensure it is fresh and not drying out. When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.
- Cut 1-2 inches away from the base of the trunk immediately before placing the tree in the stand, as this ensures water absorption, and be sure to keep the stand filled with water daily.
- Don’t use electrical ornaments or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch covering.
- Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials when trimming a tree.
- Avoid using candles all together when possible. Consider using battery-operated candles instead.
- Never leave an open flame unattended.
- Place lighted candles away from combustible material such as other decorations and wrapping paper.
- Take care to place candle displays in locations where they can’t be knocked over.
- If you have small children or will be having guests with small children this holiday season, try to avoid using decorations that are sharp or breakable. If you do have these types of ornaments, place them out of reach.
- Don’t allow children to play with lights, electrical decorations, or cords.
These are just a few ways you can keep your home safe this holiday season. It’s also a good idea to consider using plastic ornament hangers instead of the metal ones to prevent children from getting scratched or being injured if they put a stray hanger in their mouth. The same goes if you have pets in the home. Please visit ESFi.org for more holiday decorating safety tips.
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