Fire can be a good thing when treated with respect, but can be a danger when paired with the many distractions during the holiday season. So in the quest to create a good old-fashioned family Christmas, follow these important safety tips for a happy holiday season:
- Is your tree live? If so, make sure it is fresh and green with needles that are hard to pull from the branches.
- Place the tree in a stand with water, well away from heaters or the fireplace, and check the water daily.
- Before putting lights on the tree or using them in other home decorations, examine them carefully. Do they have frayed wiring or loose sockets? Throw them out! Make sure any you keep or replace have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory.
- Make sure all light sockets have bulbs in them. Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets.
- Do not let bulbs touch tree branches. Never burn candles on or near the tree and never use flammable decorations.
- Never use lights on a metallic tree. If the lights become faulty, the entire tree could be electrified.
- Be careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or even whole circuits in the house.
- For optimum safety as well as energy efficiency, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights.
- Place wires where they cannot trip anyone. Do not run them under rugs.
- Turn off decorative lighting when you leave the room.
- Make sure the lights used are specifically designated for outdoor use and the cords are not worn or frayed.
- Use a non-conducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights, and stay clear of all overhead wires.
- Turn the electricity off before replacing bulbs.
- Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic or dry grass and leaves.
- For outside use, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.
- Use rubber gaskets in light sockets or hang sockets downward to keep water out.
- Keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes.