Holiday Safety Tips
The following are our holiday safety tips for both decorating and gift giving:
If not done correctly, seemingly cheerful activities could quickly put a damper on holiday spirits – December and January are peak months for home fires, deaths and injuries.
SAFE & THRIFTY GIFTS
- Shop at retailers you know and trust. Some products found at deep-discount stores may pose potential safety hazards, especially if they do not bear a recognized safety certification mark, such as the UL Mark (the letters “UL” inside a circle).
- Just look for UL. Products that bear the UL Mark mean representative samples have been tested to UL’s rigorous safety standards and found to be free of foreseeable safety hazards.
- Examine packaging. Parents should thoroughly examine new products, especially if they have young children at home. Pay particular attention to products in boxes or packages that do not offer a brand name and manufacturer’s information.
- Gift donations. If you plan to give to those in need, think safety. Consider donating toys your children no longer play with – but are in good condition for second-hand use. Before donating toys with electrical components, make sure they do not have frayed or bare wires/cords as they can potentially cause fire or shock hazards.
- A fresh tree is key. “If the needles are not fresh, there is a greater risk of fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications, NFPA. “While Christmas tree fires are rare, a person dies in one of every 18 reported, so it’s clear they can be deadly.” Ask your tree lot attendant to make a fresh cut to the base of the tree and place it in water as soon as you get home. Position the tree in a tree stand that holds at least one gallon of water and check moisture level daily. Dispose of your tree after approximately four weeks.
- Light it right. Carefully inspect each electrical decoration – new or old — before plugging it in. Look for cracked sockets or frayed, exposed wires that could become a shock or fire hazard. Replace damaged items with new, UL-LISTED decorations.
- Holiday lights – indoor or outdoor? Indoor-use only light strings are marked with UL’s green holographic label. Indoor or outdoor-use light strings are marked with UL’s red holographic label.
- Three feet from the heat: Keep your tree at least three feet from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, and heating vents.
- LED Lights: Consider these as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional light strings. They draw less power and can be a better option for your family.
- Do not use staples or nails to hang light strings: Instead, purchase plastic hooks or clips designed for hanging light strings.
- Exercise candle care. If you have children and pets, place candles out of reach and away from heavy traffic areas in your home. Never leave a room with candles lit.
- Stand by your pan. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking, frying or broiling.
- Practice makes the holiday perfect. Use the holiday season as an opportunity to practice a fire escape plan with your children. Every family member should know at least two ways to get out of each room in the home.