Each year there are thousands of injuries involving holiday decorations. You can reduce the risk to your members, volunteers and guests this season by following these holiday decorating safety tips:

Live and Artificial Trees

  • Purchase a fresh tree to minimize the fire hazard and maximize long life.
  • Cut off the bottom 2 inches off the trunk base for better water absorption.
  • Water a live tree daily by filling up the tree stand basin.
  • Install all trees at least 3 feet from all heat sources.
  • Make sure the tree does not block doors or walkways.
  • Ensure artificial trees are labeled as fire resistant.

Candles and Flames

  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Know the dangers: candles start almost half of all home decoration fires.
  • Keep candles a safe distance from other decorations.
  • Use only artificial electric candle lights on trees or wreaths.
  • If a candle is lit, ensure someone is in the room.
  • Use only dry candles since water may cause a wax explosion reaction.
  • Avoid using water to extinguish a candle wax fire.
  • Consider using all battery-operated candles for added safety.

Indoor Lights

  • Check lights before hanging and discard damaged sets.
  • Consider replacing hot-burning incandescent light sets with cool-to-the-touch LED lighting.
  • String only like lights together, LED with LED and incandescent with incandescent.
  • Remember the formula watts = amps x volts to determine a safe electrical load for lights.
  • Keep each circuit below 80 percent of its potential wattage to avoid overheating wires.
  • Use only lights made for indoor use inside the Post.
  • Get a spotter to help keep the ladder steady for light installation.
  • Ensure lights and extension cords don’t create a trip hazard.
  • Put lights away carefully at the end of the season to protect wires and bulbs from damage.

Outdoor Lights

  • Power lights with an outdoor outlet and never run lights through windows or doors.
  • Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet to reduce the risk of electrical shocks.
  • Consider having a GFCI outlet installed if you don’t have one to protect from electrical shorts.
  • Keep indoor lights inside and only use outdoor-designated lights outside the Post.
  • Dry any wet lights and plugs completely before installation and use.
  • Avoid letting light strings touch puddles or snow on the ground.
  • Store outdoor lights indoors after the season is over.

Electrical Safety

  • Inspect lights and cords when unpacking decorations.
  • Be on the lookout for damaged sockets and wires.
  • Replace light sets with frayed or bare wires or loose connections.
  • Follow the package instructions for safe electrical loads for sockets and outlets.
  • Hang lights with clips, not nails, staples or tacks, which can damage or stress the wires.
  • Keep plugs away from puddles, snow and ice.
  • Turn off the power supply to all decorations before leaving the Post.

Other Decorations

  • Keep mistletoe, holly berries and other toxic seasonal plants away from children and pets.
  • Hang ornaments with small parts high on the tree out of the reach of small children.
  • Check ornaments for damage before use and discard broken ones.
  • Consider using less fragile ornaments in high traffic areas or around children.


Holiday decorating safety tips is the right way to decorate your Post and get in the holiday spirit.