The holiday season is one of the most cherished and anticipated times of the year. Families come together to celebrate annual traditions, and pass them along to new generations. With all of this excitement however, many end up neglecting caution and safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 860 home fires are caused by holiday decorations every year, with an additional 210 annual home fires caused by Christmas trees alone.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International is encouraging homeowners to give the gift of safety to friends and family by creating a hazard-free environment for the holidays. Follow these tips to ensure the safety of your home, property, and workplace.
- Keep away from power lines
Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself, decorations, and equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.
- Inspect decorations
Carefully inspect each electrical decoration before using. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause shock or start a fire.
- Water your Christmas tree
For live trees, check for freshness and avoid buying dry trees. Once it’s installed in your home or office, remember to water your tree daily. If you’re using an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.”
- Keep decorations away from heat sources
According to the NFPA, space heaters are involved in 79% of fatal home heating fires. Prevent fires by keeping decorations or any flammable items at least three feet from open flame and heat sources.
- Avoid decorations overload
Besides being the house with too many decorations, overloading electrical outlets with too many lights or devices can cause a fire.
- Avoid counterfeit electronics
When buying electronic gifts or decorations, ensure that you get them from reputable retailers, and that they are approved by a national recognized testing lab such as UL, Intertek, or CSA.
- Only plug outdoor decorations into GFCIs
Outdoor electrical lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.
- Turn off decorations
Make sure to turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or work, or going to bed.
For more holiday safety tips, visit www.holidaysafety.org