Safe In 60: Preventing The Most Common Holiday Decorating Hazards
HERRIMAN, Utah – Many of you likely spent the weekend digging out Christmas decorations. As you untangle the lights and prepare to spread that holiday glitter, just remember that each year, there are about 15,000 injuries across the country related to holiday decorating.
That’s 240 injuries a day in November and December – everything from back strains to serious falls.
In addition to falls, fires are also more common this time of year. In fact, house fires during the holiday season are more frequent, costly and deadly than any other time of the year.
But holiday decorating does not have to be a hazardous event if you follow a few safety guidelines.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, two out of every five fires this time of year start because decorations are placed too close to a heating source.
Keep your tree and other decorations at least three feet from any candles, space heaters or other source of heat.
If you have a fake tree, make sure it’s labeled fire resistant. If you have a live tree, keep it watered and never leave the lights on overnight or while you’re gone.
One in three holiday fires is caused by electrical problems.
Check your light strands for damage, loose connections, and cracked or broken sockets. If you see any bare or frayed wires, throw them away. If you’re purchasing new lights, consider LED – they are cooler to the touch and use less electricity.
Look for a UL symbol on the lights, which indicates they meet industry safety standards.
And don’t overload electrical outlets – follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how many lights can be connected to a single outlet safely.
Candle fires peak in December. Never leave them burning unattended. You may consider battery operated flameless candles as a safer alternative.
If you’re decorating outdoors, make sure your lights and extension cords are insulated and specifically made for outdoor use. Indoor lights can become hazardous when exposed to wet conditions.
Use Christmas light clips or hooks to hang your lights. Never use nails, tacks or screws, which can puncture the wires.
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