Did you know that over 15000 holiday decorating related injuries resulting in ER visits occurred in the US in 2012 (according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission)? And the National Fire Protection Association says that an average of 230 home fires involving Christmas trees occur each holiday season in the US. To make matters worse, the new building methods and many synthetic materials used in homes these days cause homes to burn 8 times faster than they did 50 years ago. Check out these holiday safety tips in preparation for this season:
If you’re using a real tree –
make sure that you run your fingers through the needles to ensure that it’s fresh as trees with dry needles are more easily ignited and burn faster.
Cut a few inches off the bottom when you first bring the tree home to reveal fresher wood that will absorb more water.
Keep your tree base filled with water at all times. Check it daily to be sure!
Place the tree in a location well away from fireplaces, radiators, and any other sources of heat as they will dry the tree out much faster.
And don’t keep the tree in your home too long. Fresh cut trees tend to dry out after 4 weeks and they need to be disposed of by that time.
If you’re purchasing a pre-lit fake Christmas tree –
look for the tags that indicate they have met fire safety standards.
When putting up an artificial tree, check the lights to be sure there are no frayed wires or cracked sockets.
When it comes to other decorations –
make sure that you are only using decorations and lights outdoors that have been marked as safe for this purpose. Many will have a red UL mark on the label to indicate that it can safely be used both indoors and out or a green mark meaning that it’s only for indoor use.
be especially careful with the use of candles. Keep them well away from flammable items. Use only candles with lead-free wicks. OR a great idea is to use LED candles and avoid the risk. Of course, as always, never leave a burning candle unattended and be sure to keep them well away from children and pets. If placing them on a table, be aware that a child or pet may tug at the tablecloth (even using it to help them get up) and pull the lit candles right over, setting the tablecloth aflame.
remember that holiday decorations are not toys so they need to be kept well out of reach of young children and pets who might chew on them and get sick.
if hanging stockings by the chimney with care, take heed to the last portion of that famous phrase and use great care! Stockings are flammable and cause a fire risk when near a fireplace in use. Either temporarily move them while using the fireplace or hang them elsewhere entirely.
Never leave your home with your tree lit or any lighted decorations on. This is a particular risk when you have a real tree but even in the case of an artificial one, if that wire were to have become frayed without you noticing it, this could pose a great risk if unattended.
It’s not fun to think about the dangers of that can occur during the holidays but by taking extra care, we can minimize our risks and have a holly jolly Christmas anyway!