How to safely decorate for the holidays
‘Tis the season to trim the tree and light the home. When decorating for the holidays, be mindful of how to prevent falls, fires and other home mishaps. Help keep it fun and festive with these holiday decorating safety tips.
When purchasing electrical products, make sure they are from trusted retailers, have appropriate indoor or outdoor designations and are certified by a safety testing organization such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Before using holiday lights, inspect them to ensure there are no damaged parts or loose connections. A good rule of thumb is to never connect more than three strands together or overload your electrical outlets with too many plugs. Lastly, make sure to turn off all your decorations when you leave home or go to sleep. Consider purchasing a smart plug you can control remotely or a basic outlet timer.
If you’ll be using a ladder to decorate, perform a thorough inspection of it first. Set up your ladder only on flat, stable surfaces, and ensure that all locks are properly engaged. If using an extension ladder, follow the 1-to-4 rule, which says that for every four feet your ladder is raised up, move the base out one foot. When using your ladder, always be sure to keep three points of contact with your body (e.g. two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand). Finally, never use furniture as a ladder.
Flickering candles and potentially flammable decorations mean that fire safety is an important holiday decorating concern. If you have a real tree in your home, keep it well watered, and if you have an artificial one, make sure it is fire-resistant. Consider decorations that are noncombustible or flame-resistant, and keep anything that may be flammable away from fireplaces, radiators or any other sources of heat or flame. Battery-operated candles are the safest choice, but follow proper candle safety if you’ll be using real candles.
By following this advice, you’ll help ensure that you and your household can enjoy your festive home décor in health and happiness all through the season.