5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Decor Disasters

One of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season is decorating your home. From the twinkle of candlelight to the smell of fresh pine needles, holiday decorations for the home create a festive, fun and memorable season.

Sadly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), home holiday decorations also cause over 400 holiday fires each year, resulting in $15 million in property loss and damage. Don’t let your holidays go up in flames! Protect your home and family with these decoration safety tips:

1. Choose non-flammable and flame retardant decorations

Be smart about decorations. Vintage holiday decorations made from paper, lace or fabric may look beautiful, but they are often highly flammable. Display your vintage decorations away from any heat source, including holiday lights and the fireplace.

2. Never leave a candle burning

From Menorahs to Advent wreaths, candlelight makes the holidays special. Unfortunately, according to CPSC, there are also 11,000 candle-related fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths and 1,200 injuries annually. Never leave a room with a candle burning, and never go near a Christmas tree with a lit candle, lighter or match.

3. Don’t overload your outlets

When stringing lights, it’s easy to overload electrical outlets. Never link more than three light strings, unless the light directions specifically indicate that it is safe to do so. Periodically check the light strings — warm strands indicate that the cords are overheating and need to be unplugged. Always unplug lights when you are not home.

4. Keep your Christmas tree fresh

Dry Christmas trees can go up in flames in a matter of seconds. When selecting your tree, make sure it passes the shake test. Your tree should be sticky to the touch and when shaken, minimal needles will fall. This ensures that your tree is fresh and that with proper care, it will last for at least two weeks. When setting up your tree, place it as far as possible from a heat source to prevent your tree from drying out too fast. Keep your tree fresh with plenty of water, and never toss branches into the fireplace.

5. Don’t block the exit

In your excitement to squeeze as many special decorations as possible into our homes, it’s all too easy to block a doorway or exit. Remember, in the event of a fire, every minute matters. Ensure that your holiday decorations for the home don’t block doors or otherwise hinder your ability to quickly and safely exit.