Lights and decorations add to the festivity of the holiday season. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a tree trimmed with twinkling lights, stockings hung over the fireplace and maybe even some over-the-top lights on the exterior of your house (ala Clark Griswold.)
However, it’s important to keep safety in mind at this time of year, to ensure that the only fire at your house over the holidays is in your fireplace. Here are our Top 10 Tips for keeping your family safe in December and beyond.
- Place your tree away from heating vents, as well as fireplaces, wall sconces and any other source of heat. Of course, also make sure your tree isn’t blocking any exits in your home.
- Don’t overload extension cords or surge protectors, and resist the temptation to connect more than one extension cord. If you come up short, get the proper length.
- Check all light strands for cracks, frayed ends or loose connections. Damaged strands can spark a fire. Replace burned out bulbs and never leave a bulb socket empty.
- Don’t use tacks or nails to hang lights. Doing so can pierce the cable. Instead, use adhesive hooks or insulated holders.
- Don’t use indoor lights and extension cords outside. Lights and cords that are rated for indoor use have less insulation, and they can become cracked and damaged when they’re exposed to the elements outdoors.
- Don’t use antiquated lights. Using the lights you had on your tree as kid might make you feel nostalgic, but safety regulations have come a long way. If they don’t have current safety ratings, it’s time to let them go.
- Connect exterior lights to a ground fault circuit interrupter. If you’re lighting up the exterior of your house, make sure you’re plugging those lights into a ground fault circuit interrupter to reduce the risk of shorts due to water exposure from the weather.
- Keep your tree well watered. Not only will it last longer, but it will be much safer. The U.S. Fire Administration reports around 250 Christmas tree fires a year, so don’t underestimate this risk.
- Don’t leave lights on constantly (or overnight.) Use timers to make sure the lights are on at night when you can enjoy them, but off during the day to save energy and allow them to cool off.
- Take your tree down by New Year’s Day. Although it’s hard to admit the holiday season is over, it’s important to take down your tree and get it out of the house. Even if you’ve kept it well watered, it will continue to dry out over time.
We hope these tips will keep you safe and sound during this wonderful holiday season. Rest assured that if trouble ever comes your way, the team of certified disaster restoration experts at Hays + Sons is just a phone call away. We’re here for you, 24/7, 365 days a year. (Yes, even Christmas.) Have a merry one!