Holiday Safety Tips
The smell of a fresh tree, the sight of beautiful lights, and the sounds of festive music make the holidays a very special time of year. With so many things going on during the holidays, it can be easy to overlook important safety measures. Be sure your holiday season is joyous, not dangerous.
Your Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is one of the most beautiful, and hazardous, elements of the holiday season. If you are purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it has a “fire-resistant” label. If you are purchasing a live tree, make sure that the tree is freshly cut. Fresh trees can be identified by sticky trunks and needles that do not easily fall off. Trees that are not fresh have dried out and are a serious fire hazard. Trees can easily and very rapidly become engulfed in flames.
Place your Christmas tree in a safe spot. Be sure to keep it away from heating vents, candles, fireplaces, and other sources of open flames or heat. To keep your tree fresh, and reduce the likelihood of it catching on fire, it is important to keep your tree well watered. The base of your tree should have plenty of water at all times.
When purchasing or putting up lights, make sure lights you are going to put outside are rated for outdoor usage. These lights are specially designed to better handle the elements.
While lights are a holiday essential, they are also a common source of electrical fires. Be sure to look over all of your old lights to make sure there are no exposed wires, cracked sockets, or loose connections. Check for worn insulation which can cause electrical shorts and sparks that could start a fire. Replace all of these old damaged lights. Take the time to read the instructions included with your lights to determine how many strings of lights can be connected together safely. Make sure you are not overloading electrical outlets. When purchasing or putting up lights, make sure lights you are going to put outside are rated for outdoor usage. These lights are specially designed to better handle the elements. Never leave the lights on when you are away or asleep.
Nothing takes the chill off winter holidays like the light and heat of a fire on your hearth. Just be sure to keep “fuel” – from wrapping paper to rugs to clothing – at least three feet away from the flames. Use a fire screen to keep embers and logs from escaping. Make sure all embers are fully extinguished before you turn in for the night.
Avoid Fires Started by Candles
Two out of five home decoration fires are started by candles. Avoid this from happening to you by keeping candles at least 12-inches away from anything that is flammable or that could burn. Place candles in stable holders and sturdy surfaces so they cannot be knocked down easily. As a safer option, consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell, and feel like real candles without the risk of fire.