With the holidays upon us it seems like a perfect time to talk about holiday decoration safety. As many of us know, the holiday season is an increased time for house fires and other tragedies.
According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) Christmas tree and holiday decoration fires result in twice the injuries and five times more fatalities per fire than the average winter holiday fire. Not surprising, 45 percent of home decoration fires start with candles, and on average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in injuries, deaths and in property damage. Roughly 5,800 people per year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these injuries were caused by falls from ladders or roofs.
Consider these safety tips:
Click here for a list of the top 10 Indoor Holiday Decorating Tips.
Here is a list of top Outdoor Holiday Decorating Tips:
- Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
- Follow the use and care instructions that accompany your electrical decorations.
- Choose holiday decorations made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials whenever possible.
- Use lights that are approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as UL, CSA or ETL.
- Stapling or nailing through light strings or electrical/extension cords may damage the wire or insulation, which could lead to an electrical shock or fire.
- Before using any light strings, animated displays or other electrical products outdoors, make sure the product is approved for outdoor use.
- Check packaging to determine the maximum number of strings that may be linked together.
- When replacing a light bulb, make sure that the replacement bulb is of equal or lesser wattage than that recommended by the manufacturer.
- Turn off all electrical light strings, candles and decorations before leaving home or going to bed. Automatic lighting timers are available for both indoor and outdoor applications, and they can be used to ensure that lights are not left on.
- To reduce the chance of an electric shock, use a dry, wooden ladder when hanging holiday lights and be sure to stay clear of overhead electrical wires.
- Waterproof all electrical connections, and keep them elevated so that water won’t drain into the connection and cause either a short circuit or shock.
- For added electric shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls or other firm supports to protect against wind damage. To hold light strings in place, use insulated staples or run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be shocked.
Many wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!