The holiday season should be time of joy, warmth, family and traditions. It is also, sadly, a time of increased fire hazards resulting in unexpected grief and tragedy for some families. House fires caused by decorations and candles increase significantly during the holidays and account for an estimated 415 deaths and 1,650 injuries annually.
You do not have to give up your holiday decorating in the interest of safety, but follow some easy tips to reduce your risk of a fire.
Tips for Holiday Decorating Safety
When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from the branches and do not easily fall when the tree is tapped on the ground.
If using an artificial tree, look for the "Fire Resistant" label. This does not mean the tree will not catch fire, however, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and extinguish quickly.
Keep trees away from ignition sources, such as fireplaces and heaters.
Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.
Check each set of lights, new or old, for damaged wires or loose connections.
Do not overload electrical circuits. Follow manufacturer recommendations for stringing lights together.
Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant decorations.
Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
Always use non-flammable holders, place candles where they will not be knocked over, and remember when you go out - blow out!