Decorating for the Holidays

Learn how to prevent 3 of the most common mishaps: fires, falls and electric shock.

Decorations put the festive in our end-of-the-year celebrations. Don’t let unintentional mishaps dampen your merriment and hamper your celebrations.

Did you know that candles start almost half of ALL home decoration fires? One out of three candle fires start in a bedroom. What about Christmas trees you might ask? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one out of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems, while one out of every four home Christmas tree fire is a result of placing a tree too close to a heat source. Additionally, holiday lights are a renowned fire starting source.

What to know:

  • Before decorating your tree, double-check lights for frayed or cracked wires.
  • Make sure there is a bulb in each light socket and discard and replace damaged strands.
  • Holiday decorations should be flame retardant or non-flammable.
  • Place all decorations away from heat sources.
  • Rethink burning gift wrap. It can cause sparks and case a home fire. Reuse or recycle are better options!

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more people are injured by falling off of ladders during holiday months than at any other time of the year. On average, over 5,800 Americans are treated for fall related injuries associated with placing holiday decorations.  Forty-three percent of the injuries are caused by ladder accidents.

Avoid Falls by:

  • Using proper climbing tools, such as ladders or stools.
  • Make sure your ladder is on a stable surface before stepping onto it.
  • Make holiday decorating festive by working with others and ask someone to hold the ladder for you.
  • An alternative injury prevention is to hire professionals to hang and remove your holiday decorations.

Electric Shock:
Electric shock is one of the most common injuries that occurs between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study found that an average of 5,000 people are treated for electric shock caused by indoor and outdoor decorations each holiday season.

Stay safe when decorating with lights and inflatables!

  • If possible, outdoor lights and inflatable decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  • Use authentic extension cords that have an approval label from an independent agency.
  • Never string together more than three strands of lights together; plug the lights into an extension cord before plugging into an outlet.
  • Conserve energy safely by using a timer to turn lights on or off.
  • Electricity and water do not mix. Never touch electrical wiring when you are wet.

These simple tips can help ensure your holidays are truly a celebration!

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