Lights are an important part of our holiday celebrations, but each year decorative lighting is responsible for numerous fires and property damage across the U.S. To avoid disasters in and around your home, here are some safety tips to help keep you safe this holiday season.
- Check all cords and light strings for damage before installing.
- If you’re purchasing new lights, LED lights run cooler and use less energy than incandescent lights.
- Use plastic clips to attach light strings to your house. Staples can damage strings.
- Consider kids and pets. Avoid easy access to plugs and dangerous situations.
- Overloading outlets with too many devices can lead to a fire.
- Exterior lights should only be connected to GFCI outlets.
- Make sure all electrical cords aren’t pinched by windows, doors or furniture.
- Keep outdoor cord connections dry. Place them off the ground and use conduit and waterproof cord covers to protect connections.
- Limit your lighting strand connections to three together at once. More than that can cause problems, so plan your decorating accordingly.
- Unplug decorations before replacing any bulbs or fuses.
- Never leave your holiday lights on when you’re not at home or going to bed.
- Only purchase your electrical decorations from trustworthy sources. If electronic decorations are getting old and worn, consider fixing or simply retiring them.
- Keep your tree away from space heaters and fireplaces.
- For live trees, cut a couple inches off the tree base before putting it into a tree stand with water to make sure the tree absorbs the moisture. Refill the water in the tree stand every day so that it never runs dry.
- If you purchase a live tree, make sure it is fresh. Fresh trees will stay alive longer and are less of a fire hazard.
- Don’t leave candles unattended. Consider battery-operated candles as a safer alternative.
- Don’t leave open flames such as fireplaces unattended. Extinguish all flames when leaving the room.
If your home doesn’t have a fire extinguisher, consider getting one for every level. If you do have one, be sure to check the label for an expiration date, and check the pressure gauge to make sure it is still functional. Most home fire extinguisher have to be replaced every 5-10 years. Be sure everyone in the home knows how to use the fire extinguisher in case of an emergency.