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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.