Deck the Halls With Safety

As much as we’re all enjoying the last couple days of summer, the holiday season will be here before we know it! The excitement we feel when we are finally putting up the tree and hanging up the lights is a one-of-a-kind feeling, although we can’t let our excitement get the best of us. It is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but unfortunately that is not always true.  

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 160 decorating-related injuries occur each day in the U.S. during the holiday season. Almost half of those accidents involve falls which often lead to broken bones, concussions and pulled muscles. Besides these injuries, the National Fire Protection Association reports that Christmas lights cause 770 house fires yearly. On average, those fires kill one person a year and injure 26 more. Being cautious and safe around the holidays by following these holiday home safety tips will help to ensure that you and your family enjoy a peaceful holiday season.  

Safe practices to be mindful of while decorating indoors:

  1. If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label.
  2. If buying a real tree, ensure it does not get dried out. Dried-out holiday trees can be a major fire hazard in your home. To prevent this, make it a routine to water your tree daily.
  3. When setting up your tree, place it at least 3 feet away from a heat source to help prevent your tree from drying out too fast.
  4. Double check that all holiday lights and decorations have been turned off before going to bed or leaving the house.
  5. Candles are very popular, especially around the holidays. But candles also increase the risk of fire. Their popularity leads to nearly three times as many candle fires on Christmas Day, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Instead, consider using battery-operated LED candles and never go near a tree or wreath with a lit candle, lighter or match.
  6. Mantels are beautiful with festive decorations, but remember most of these items are flammable. If you plan to use your fireplace frequently, consider hanging these decorations somewhere else. In the same breath, do not string lights on any decorations that are dry or combustible.

Safe practices to be mindful of while decorating outdoors:

  1. When decorating the outside of your home, it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings. Make sure to keep yourself, your decorations, and all equipment at least 10 feet from power
  2. When using a ladder, wear shoes that allow for good traction on ladders. Typically slip-resistant shoes with heavy soles are best at helping to keep your footing on the rungs, especially in inclement weather.
  3. Always maintain three points of contact on a ladder.
  4. Make sure to fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls, or other firm support to protect from wind damage. If you are using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated and far away from gutters to avoid electrocution or fire hazard.
  5. Check all holiday light cords to ensure they are not frayed or broken, and only use cords outdoors if they are designated for outdoor use. Make sure not to string too many strands of lights together. A good rule of thumb to remember is to use no more than three standard size sets of lights per single extension cord.
Guest contribution by Quinten O’Dea from Q&A Landscaping. Q&A Landscaping has been completing quality outdoor landscaping and hardscape projects for 13 years.