Part of the fun of the winter holiday season is decorating your house and property with colorful lights, greenery and other festive ornaments. However, in our zest to get the house decorated quickly, it’s too easy to ignore basic safety measures. Although your holiday decorations will only be up for a month or two, it’s still important to install them safely and securely.
Holiday decorating safety tips
1. Don’t overload your electrical circuits with lights. Extension cords can be handy during the holidays, but plugging in too many items into one cord can quickly overload your electrical circuits and lead to a house fire. A good rule of thumb is to plug in no more than three items into any one extension cord. It’s also a bad item to string multiple extension cords together.
2. Keep live trees away from heat sources. A live, evergreen tree that has been allowed to dry out is much more likely to catch fire. To prevent this, avoid placing your tree near heat registers, fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. It’s also smart to wait until a week or so before Christmas to purchase your tree and to keep it well watered.
3. Don’t leave candles unattended. Candles add soft lighting and romance to your holiday motif, but they can also be a fire hazard. Candles getting too hot on a wooden surface, being tipped over by kids or pets or burning too close to fabric draperies or upholstery can quickly ignite. A better idea is to opt for light-like flame-less battery-operated candles that give you the look of real candles with none of the danger.
4. Check lights before you put them up. Before you start adorning the tree or climbing the ladder outside, take a few minutes to make sure that not only your lights illuminate, but that they are free from frayed edges and loose wires. Discard any strands of lights with these issues.
5. Turn the tree lights off when you go to bed. It can be tempting to leave the tree lit when you go to bed, especially on Christmas Eve, but leaving your tree lit for extended periods can cause the lights to heat up and possibly ignite your tree. This is particularly serious when there’s no one in the room to notice the smoke or flame until the entire tree is engulfed.
While decorating your home is part of the fun of the holiday season, be smart about your holiday decor by not overloading your electrical circuits, checking your lights before your put them up and keeping your tree away from heat sources.