Fire and electrical hazards are more common during the holiday season with trees, cooking and electrical decorations. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that holiday decorations have ignited more than 900 fires each year. The holidays are a time for cheer. Decorate correctly & safely to keep home safe this holiday season.
Step One – Get Organized
- Don’t Overload: When hanging lights it’s easy to overload the circuit by connecting too many light strands together. There is a limit to how many strands of lights you can link together end to end. The way to figure it out is to add the listed string wattages together and the recommended maximum is about 210 watts. For example, an average LED string light has 15 watts, so you could connect up to 14 strings. Try not to exceed this in a single circuit, because it may lead to overloading and heating. Incandescent lights should not have more than three strands connected.
- Look for LED Holiday Lights: LED bulbs use less energy and give off less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs. Benefits, may can handle multiple strands connected due to the low wattage LED bulbs pull so you can connect multiple without worrying.
- Only buy decorations with a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which means it has been tested to meet standards.
- Use heavy-duty extension cords, and only use cords outdoors if they are designated for outdoor use.
- Power Down: Always unplug lights before leaving the house and before going to sleep. Use a 24-Hour Plug In Timer to automatically turn lights on or off. Look for one that can be controlled via smart phone.
- Stay up to Code: To prevent against electrical shock, install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Outlets (GFCIs). GFCI outlets are tamper-resistant to help prevent children from inserting most small objects into outlets.
Step Two – Get Decorating
- Going Up: Ensure the ladder is securely placed on the ground before climbing. Or consider upgrading to a Scaffoldbench that is a safer way to stand and hang things, and do home improvement projects like painting, or hanging a curtain rod; and it also doubles as a storage unit when not in use.
- Plastic v. Metal: Only use plastic or plastic-coated fasteners and clips to hang holiday lights. Metallic fasteners, nails and staples can conduct electricity. Do not hammer tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights. Instead, use clips to safely attach lights to the house. Some lights have
- There are simple ways to decorate these days that don’t involve
Step Three – Christmas tree care
- Plan the position: Plan and inspect where you’d like to place the tree. Avoid heat sources and drafts that cause excessive drying and increase risk of a fire.
- Make sure wherever you buy your tree, you make a fresh cut, and get it into water within 6 to 8 hours and it will still take water, but the sooner the better.
- Fill it up: Keep the tree stand filled with water to prevent heat from drying out the tree. There are Christmas Tree funnels, and other easy ways to conveniently water your tree with no spills.
- National Christmas Tree Association is a great source for more information
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