Decorating the home for the holidays is certainly fun, but before you start on anything – think safety first.
Every year, around 12,500 people visit the hospital emergency rooms to receive treatment for injuries, such as cuts, falls and shocks, due to holiday decorations, lights and Christmas trees. Moreover, around 11,600 house fires each year, resulting in $173 million in property loss, 1,200 injuries and 150 deaths, are attributed to candles. Christmas trees are also said to start around 300 fires annually, resulting in $10 million property loss, 30 injuries and 10 deaths. The sad fact is that many people do not know this and thus fail to prepare for it.
Here are holiday decoration tips you can use to ensure safety!
- When using artificial trees, make sure to use one labeled, “Fire Resistant.”
- Do not set up your tree near radiator, fireplace, doorway, or traffic area.
- Choose lights that are properly labeled or have been tested for safety by regulatory boards.
- Never use lights with cracked sockets, broken lights, loose connections, bare or frayed wires.
- Never leave lights on when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house.
- Before you plug electrical decorations, make sure to check all decorations, both old and new.
- Adding electrical decorations can increase the risk of overloading your electrical outlets. Invest in a surge protector or have a separate power line to avoid overloading. When stringing lights, never connect more than three strings. If possible use an extension cord and do not directly connect the strings into an outlet.
- Never leave lighted candles unattended. Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles. These candles are available in various colors, styles and designs that perfectly look like the real thing.
- If using a lit candle, make sure to put stable holder and put it away from pets and children. It is recommended that candles be put at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch fire easily, such as curtains, decors, paper, and cloths.
- Do not block exits or doorways with decorations. In case of emergency or fire, the exit routes should be clear of any obstacle.
- Only use flame-retardant or noncombustible materials for tree trimming, and never place lit candles near or on a tree.
- Always keep a screen on your fireplace to avoid any sparks from igniting nearby flammable items.
- Keep all breakable and sharp decorations away from children, especially those that are small and pose choking risks.
- When installing decors to the roof, walls or other elevated areas, be sure to use stable stand or ladder. If possible, use safety harness and other devices to prevent falls.
- Wear appropriate clothing when installing and removing decorations.
For the next holiday season, you know what to do to prevent possible injuries.