Holiday Safety Tips

by Rachel Laurendeau on December 18, 2012

The holiday season is full of fun and joy but there are plenty of accidents waiting to happen if you aren’t careful. Follow these safety tips to ensure that your holidays are spent safely.

Candles
• Candles are responsible for thousands of fires each year, leading to property loss, injuries and even hundreds of deaths.
• Never leave burning candles unattended and make sure they are properly extinguished before you go to sleep.
• Keep candles in proper candle holders on stable surfaces and keep them away from all flammable materials, including decorations, trees and window coverings.
• Avoid setting your candles where people will need to reach over them.

Christmas lights
• Use outdoor lights outdoors and indoor lights indoors. Make sure that any lights that you are using are tested and certified and conform to safety standards.
• Do not use lights with broken or cracked sockets, loose connections or frayed or bared wires. Throw out sets of lights that are damaged.
• Check your extension cords to ensure that it is in good condition and rated for the use you have in mind. It is recommended that you not use more than three sets of lights per extension cord.

Christmas trees
• When selecting a real Christmas tree, be sure that it is freshly cut as an older dry tree is more flammable. How do you know if the tree is fresh? The needles should be bright green and difficult to pull off of the branch and when you tap the tree on the ground, few needles should fall off. The bottom of the trunk should be sticky with sap. To keep your tree fresh, make sure you water it every day.
• If you’re using an artificial tree, look for one that is labeled “fire resistant” so that it resists burning and is more easily extinguished should it catch on fire.
• Never use candles on or near a tree or near other evergreen decorations like wreaths or floral arrangements.
• Keep your tree away from heat sources such as radiators, vents and fireplaces.
• If you have small children in the house, avoid using decorations that resemble candy or other food and keep sharp or breakable decorations or those with tiny pieces well out of their reach.

Fireplaces
• Keep trees and other holiday decorations well away from the fireplace.
• Do not burn large quantities of wrapping paper in the fireplace; this paper can ignite quickly and burn very intensely.

Additionally, to be on the safe side, be sure to test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector at the start of the holiday season. And, if you aren’t sure if your home wiring is up to the extra loads, talk to your local electrical contractor or home improvement expert.

Be safe and enjoy the holiday season with your friends and family!

Resource: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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