Holiday safety tips for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Keep spirits merry and bright with safety tips for the winter holidays.
- Opt for strands of lights with fused plugs that can prevent sparks in the event of a short circuit.
- Ensure that you are using outdoor appropriate extension cords and lights.
- Check cords for cracks (particularly old lights) exposed wires and other flaws.
- Avoid letting the lights stay on overnight, as unattended lights pose a potential fire hazard. Set your lights on a timer so that they shut off automatically after bedtime and turn on again the next evening.
- Use the correct wattage when replacing bulbs. If you aren’t sure, consider a Christmas light tester and/or repair gun.
- Be careful with ladders. If the surface seems unsteady, don’t risk it—they’re just lights!
- If you have a real tree, keep it well watered. Dry trees pose a greater fire hazard. To improve water absorption, cut at least two inches from the truck to expose fresh, more absorbent wood.
- Invest in artificial trees that are fire resistant.
- Ensure that the tree is properly secured on its stand and that the stand itself is in good condition. An unsteady tree can pose dangers to residents, guests, and pets.
- Vacuum frequently around your tree, whether it is real or artificial. All tree and décor are prone to a bit of shedding. Small materials may be hazardous to children and pets.
- Check local drought warnings and comply with all local laws. Do not attempt to start a bonfire in extremely dry conditions.
- While a roaring fire is sure to impress, it can also be dangerous. Create a visual barrier 3-5 feet away from the fire for young children (such as a ring of small rocks or branches).
- When roasting marshmallows and other goodies, be sure to use a tool of correct composition and length. Do not roast marshmallows on wooden sticks. Long metal rods with heat resistant grips work best.
- Keep an extinguisher on hand.
- Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected once annually.
- Always use the protective grating when not directly tending to the fire.
- Never leave the fire unattended.
- Have fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms tested annually.
- Ensure that the flue is open during use and closed when not in use.
Enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!