Thanksgiving Day feasts and celebrations have passed, which means the joys of Christmas morning are quickly approaching. For many families, when the Thanksgiving festivities conclude, it is time to put up the Christmas decorations. Keep the following Christmas decorating safety tips in mind as you begin to deck the halls to reduce the risk of injury this holiday season.
Christmas Tree Safety
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, property damage attributed to these types of fires exceeds $17 million annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Use the following tips to reduce your risk of fire:
- Keep your fresh cut tree outdoors. Soaking the base of trunk in water until you are ready to decorate keeps the tree moist, and therefore less flammable, for a longer period of time.
- Cut from one to two inches diagonally from the bottom of the trunk. Cutting this small sliver ofwood will allow the tree to soak up water easier and remain fresh longer.
- Keep the tree away from any heat source. When selecting a location for the tree, ensure there areat least three feet of clearance between the tree and electric baseboard heaters, wood or pellet stoves, space heaters, or other types of heat sources.
- Use a sturdy, wide-legged tree stand. Ensure that the tree is properly balanced and firmly attached to the tree stand. Check and refill the water well daily.
- Do not keep a dried-out tree in your home or garage. After the holidays, carefully take the Christmas tree down and dispose of it outside. A dried-out tree is extremely flammable.
Holiday Lighting Safety
Each year, more than 160 home fires are attributed to the improper use of Christmas lights. Using worn, damaged, or low-grade lighting are the primary causes of these fires; which cause approximately $9 million in direct property damage each year, according to the NFPA. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help eliminate fire hazards when decorating with lights:
- Only purchase lights approvedby Underwriters Laboratories (UL). You can find this UL designation on the packaging as well as on a tag on each strand of lights. Independent testing agencies like UL ensure that electronics meet minimum standards and are safe for household use.
- Inspect each strand of lights. Before use, look for defects or wear along the cord and bulbs; investigate each strand closely. Never use a damaged or worn strand of lights. Replace any bulbs that are out.
- Do not over connect strands of lights. When using strands with small bulbs, never exceed 200 bulbs total along the connected strands. When using strands with large bulbs, never exceed 50 bulbs total along the connected strands.
- Never connect more than three strands to an extension cord.
- Unplug all lights and decorations before you go to bed.
- Unplug the lights immediatelyif you blow a fuse or trip a circuit breaker. Immediately replace the fuse or rest the circuit breaker switch. After carefully plugging back into the outlet, inspect the strands. If you blow that fuse or trip that breaker again, a short circuit may be present. Unplug all of your holiday lights and contact a licensed electrician.
In 2011, more than 130 deaths and approximately $360 million in property damage related to candle fires occurred in the United States, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Many of these fires could have been prevented by taking several of the following safety precautions:
- Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish and re-light candles each time you exit and reenter any room where candles are burning.
- Never decorate a Christmas tree with candles. Keep all candles a safe distance away from flammable materials.
- Use sturdy candle holders. An accidental bump can cause an unsteady candle holder to topple, which could start a fire.
- Keep burning candles out of the reach of children.
Each year more than 13,000 people are injured decorating their homes during the Christmas season, and injuries resulting from ladder falls are on the rise, according to the CPSC.
Hanging holiday lights, wreaths, garlands, and other Christmas decorations often requires the use of a ladder. While using a ladder safely is important every day of the year, the holiday season can be especially dangerous, as people who are unfamiliar with ladder safety may find themselves hanging lights or other decorations from the rungs of a ladder. Click here to review a series of helpful ladder safety tips provided by Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency.
At Barton Insurance Agency, our agents work to ensure that you, your loved ones, and your valuable assets remain protected. For additional safety tips, please review our other blog posts, or connect with us on Facebook. To get a free insurance quote, please call us today at 603-526-6991 or click here to submit our online quote request form.