Holiday decorations add beauty to your home or office, helping make the holiday season more festive. To keep your family and business safe during the holiday season, remember these decorating safety tips:
- Always buy lights and other electric decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories. When using them, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance. Inspect new and previously used lights for damage and throw away any that are broken. Do not connect more than three sets of lights to one extension cord.
- Avoid using nails or tacks that may damage electrical cords. Instead, try using hooks or insulated staples when hanging decorations.
- While stringing lights and decorations above your normal reach, make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base to help prevent falls. Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
- If you have a live tree in your home or office, make a 1- or 2-inch diagonal cut from the trunk before placing it in a water-holding stand. This will allow the tree to collect water more easily. The stand should also have widespread legs and water in it at all times to reduce the risk of fire. Place the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
- Avoid decorations that look like candy or food if you have young children or pets. Delicious looking (or smelling) ornaments and wax fruits can easily become choking hazards.
- Holiday plants like poinsettias, holly and mistletoe can be poisonous and present a health risk, so keep them out of reach of pets and children.
- Instead of traditional candles, try using battery-operated candles to avoid injury or accident. If you choose to use wax candles, place them where they cannot be knocked down or blown over. Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper. Always use non-flammable holders.
Ensure everyone in your household or workpoace unplugs lights and blows out candles when leaving or going to bed. Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out. See that everyone knows what to do and PRACTICE YOUR PLAN!