Top Ten Holiday Home Safety Tips

The holiday season is a time of celebration and joy – and personal injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to make safety a priority this holiday season.

More than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating. Christmas trees, candles, and holiday lights can be sources of hidden dangers. Christmas tree fires result in an average of 15 deaths and $13 million in property damage each year. Holiday candles cause more than 12,000 fires, 150 deaths, and $393 million in property damage each year.

“Holiday decorating-related fires and injuries most often involve defective holiday lights, unattended candles and dried-out Christmas trees,” reported CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “We are providing simple safety steps to help keep your holiday home safe.”

Here are the top 10 holiday home safety tips from the CPSC:

Christmas Trees & Decorations

1. When purchasing an artificial tree, DO look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to catching fire.

2. When purchasing a live tree, DO check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

3. When setting up a tree at home, DO place it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to monitor water levels and keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.

4. In homes with small children, DO take special care to avoid sharp, weighted or breakable decorations, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.

Holiday Lights

5. Indoors or outside, DO use only lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL/ITSNA.

6. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets. DON’T use electric lights on a metallic tree.

7. If using an extension cord, DO make sure it is rated for the intended use.

8. When using lights outdoors, DO check labels to be sure the lights have been certified for outdoor use and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.

Candles

9. Keep burning candles within sight. DO extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.

10. DO keep lighted candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

From all of us here at MLN Law, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season!