Make the holidays happy – and safe!

As the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to pay careful attention to safely decorating for the holidays. There are simple steps that when taken can go a long way in preventing fires and injuries this year.

There’s good reason to “think safety”
Annually, during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to holiday decorating-related injuries. In addition, each year Christmas trees are related to hundreds of fires, an average of 15 deaths and $13 million in property damage. Each year 12,000 candle fires lead the holiday hazard list with more than 150 deaths and $393 million in property damage.

According to the CPSC, holiday decorating-related fires and injuries most often involve defective holiday lights, unattended candles and dried-out Christmas trees.

Ten Tips to Keep Your Holiday Home Safe and Injury Free:

Trees and Decorations

  1. When purchasing an artificial tree, DO look for the label “Fire Resistant.”
  2. When purchasing a live tree, DO check for freshness.
  3. When setting up a tree at home, DO place it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators.
  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.

Lights

  1. Indoors or outside, DO use only lights that have been tested for safety.
  2. 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.
  3. If using an extension cord, DO make sure it is rated for the intended use.
  4. 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

  1. Keep burning candles within sight. DO extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.
  2. DO keep lighted candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Get a free brochure with more holiday decorating safety tips at CPSC’s web site.

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