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Homeowner How-To

Tips For A Safe Holiday Season

July 28, 2022

holiday decorating

Can you believe the holiday season has arrived? As we near the end of the year and look forward to all of the holiday festivities, it’s easy to let safety slip your mind while you decorate your home. Unfortunately, approximately 8,000 accidents occur as a result of holiday decorating. To keep you and your family safe, we've compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you stay merry this holiday season!

christmas tree

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Christmas Tree Fire Safety

Tree Location

Always consider the placement of your Christmas tree and choose the location carefully. Be sure to keep your tree away from fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, heat ducts, and other heat sources in your home. While a fireplace gives off a beautiful effect on a tree, the two together can cause a grim situation.

Artificial Trees

Now, if you are modern and love your artificial Christmas tree, don’t forget to buy a tree that is fire resistant. While it’s convenient to buy a tree with lights already strung on it, be sure to note if it is Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved. This approval will state whether the lights are wired properly. Christmas trees are normally the focal point of all decoration, so we want to keep them safely away from burning.

Christmas Tree Maintenance

Traditionally the natural Christmas tree is favored over an artificial one. Whichever you choose, there are a few safety tips you should consider. If you are a traditionalist and love a natural tree, try to choose the freshest tree possible because the needles bend rather than break off on a fresh tree. There's nothing worse than having to sweep up pine straws every day because your tree is older. Of course, keeping the tree healthy is important for it to stay alive longer! To do this make sure to cut an inch or two off the trunk, which allows the tree to easily soak up water. Ensure you are checking your water level daily and try to keep it in a container that can hold a large amount of water. A dry tree is also more likely to catch fire than a correctly watered tree.

Hanging Christmas Ornaments

To ensure none of your favorite ornaments come crashing down, make sure you place them out of reach from children and pets. Pro tip: buy “unbreakable” ornaments and place those at the bottom of the tree. No one wants that passed-down family ornament shattering all over your new floors!

christmas ornaments

Holiday Lighting

Christmas Light Safety

Lab-Approved Lights

While these are beautiful to look at, they pose many safety concerns. A faulty string of lights on a Christmas tree can be the cause of a disastrous situation. Try to remember to buy lights that are approved by a reputable lab, such as UL. Please note that even approved lights can be dangerous if damaged.

Replacing Bulbs

One of the worst parts of having a string of lights is when one or two bulbs are dead. When you replace a bulb, be sure to unplug the strand from the outlet. It is recommended that you don’t link more than three strands of lights together unless indicated in the instructions otherwise.

GFCI Outlet

It’s imperative to note that you should connect lights to a circuit that is safe with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). You can also use a cord that houses a GFCI in it.

Plastic Clips For Hanging Outdoor Lights

In regards to outdoor lights, never use metal fasteners or nails. These can damage the wiring, which can cause a fire. Always try to use plastic clips or hooks. These are available at most hardware stores. 

Turning Lights Off

Don’t forget to turn off all the Christmas lights before you go off to bed or leave the house! This will save you money on your energy bill as well as help prevent an electrical fire. 

Candle Safety Tips

Candles are always a nice touch to personalize a home, but they need to be used with caution. According to the National Fire Protection Association, December is the leading month for fires caused by a lit candle. Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve are the most hazardous days of the year for residential candle fires. To help prevent this, keep in mind the placement of a candle.

  • Always choose a sturdy surface to put your candle on and keep away from flammable decorations.

  • Never leave your lit candle unattended and always keep away from children and pets.

Holiday Cooking Safety

Stoves & Potholders

You should be aware of the dangers of leaving a stove unattended while cooking. During the holidays, it's easy for a cook to become distracted while in the kitchen talking to family and friends. Here's a helpful hint! When cooking, carry a potholder even when leaving the kitchen. The potholder will indicate to your brain that you’re in the process of cooking and that you need to get back to it.

 

PASS Fire Extinguisher

We always recommend that every kitchen should have an easily accessible fire extinguisher. Do you know how to use an extinguisher? If not, now is a very good time to brush up on how to use it. To help keep your mind at ease, use the acronym PASS:

  • Pull pin
  • Aim at the base of the flame
  • Squeeze handle
  • Sweep from side to side until the fire is out

Bonus Holiday Safety Tips

Recycle Wrapping Paper

Throwing used wrapping paper right into the fireplace could be more dangerous than you think. Wrapping paper catches fire quickly and could cause a flash fire. Your best bet for this is to recycle, or reuse!

Automatic Timer For Lights

Buy an automatic timer for your tree and outdoor lights so that you don't have to worry about this! They are inexpensive and a total life saver!

On behalf of the Eastwood family, we wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday! Happy decorating and be sure to check out our other helpful blogs!

 

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