One of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season is decorating your home. From the twinkle of holiday lights to the smell of fresh pine needles, holiday decorations can create a festive, fun and memorable season in your home.
Unfortunately, these decorations may potentially cause injuries or pose as fire hazards, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Help protect your home and family this holiday season with these five decoration safety tips:
Be smart about the decorations you choose to showcase. Vintage holiday decorations made from paper, lace or fabric may look beautiful, but may often be flammable. Display your vintage decorations away from any heat source, including candles, holiday lights and the fireplace, says the National Safety Council (NSC). If you have an artificial holiday tree, you may want to confirm it is labeled as fire-resistant before decorating, adds the NSC.
Candlelight can help make the holidays special. However, open-flame candles can be a fire hazard. Instead, consider using battery-operated LED candles and never go near a tree or wreath with a lit candle, lighter or match, says the NSC.
When stringing lights, you may be tempted to overload extension cords. Never plug in more than three light strings into one extension cord, says the CPSC. Also, you should always unplug lights when you are not home and turn off the lights when you’re going to bed, adds the CPSC.
Dried-out holiday trees can be a major fire hazard in your home, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 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, adds the NFPA. This may help ensure that your tree is fresh. When setting up your tree, place it at least 3 feet away from a heat source to help prevent your tree from drying out too fast, says the NFPA. The NFPA also recommends you water your tree daily.
In your excitement to squeeze as many special decorations as possible into your home, it’s all too easy to potentially block a doorway or exit. Remember, in the event of a fire, every second matters. Make sure that your holiday decorations don’t block doors or otherwise hinder your ability to quickly and safely exit your home.
Following these decoration safety tips can help you celebrate your holiday traditions with an extra sense of security.
Originally published on November 30, 2011.