If you’re planning on decorating your home for the holiday season, beware! Many holiday decorations pose fire and safety hazards. Don’t spoil the holidays by falling victim to preventable disasters like house fires or injuries. These holiday décor safety tips will keep you and your family out of harm’s way this holiday season.
Practice Ladder Safety
Using a ladder to decorate hard to reach places is common during the holidays. From hanging Christmas lights outside to putting up the mistletoe, ladders can really come in handy. Unfortunately, not many people practice ladder safety when doing their holiday decorating, which can result in serious injury and even death. Check out these startling ladder fall statistics to learn more about your risk when climbing ladders.
If you’re planning on using a ladder this holiday season, make sure you take some extra precautions. First, make sure your ladder is in good shape. Wear non-slip shoes and place the ladder on a flat, dry surface to reduce the risk of slipping or losing your balance. When you’re ready to climb up, have someone stand at the bottom to stabilize the ladder as well. This person is called a spotter. Never stand on the top rung, and make sure to keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times. Finally, don’t carry heavy items with you as you climb, hoist them up with a tether instead. Here are some other ladder safety tips that will come in handy this holiday season.
Navigate Your Attic (AKA Holiday Central) Carefully
Most homeowners keep their holiday decorations in the attic. It’s a great way to use otherwise dead space, and will keep everything out of sight in order to reduce clutter. Because most attics are unfinished, they can be dangerous to navigate. When grabbing those heavy boxes of decorations, it’s important to be aware of your footing. Do not step on drywall, as it is not meant to hold weight. You should also bring a flashlight up with you so that you can easily see where you’re stepping. Have someone stand at the bottom of the stairs or ladder so that they can help you in case of emergency.
Secure the Tree and Keep It Watered
A Christmas tree can be a beautiful focal point during the holidays, but it can also be a safety hazard. Make sure the tree is secured in its stand. For households with pets and/or children, you may also want to consider anchoring the tree to the wall or ceiling for added stability. Decorated trees can be extremely heavy, so imagine the damage that weight could cause if it were to topple over on something.
It’s also important to keep live trees properly watered. This will not only keep the pine needles from falling off the tree, but will eliminate a fire hazard. Dead or dying trees are the perfect fire starters. If a strand of lights sparks or a fireplace ember escapes and lands on the tree, it will act as kindling. Tree fires are hard to contain, and can quickly destroy a home. In addition to keeping the tree watered, it’s also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency.
Keep Flammable Decorations Away from the Fireplace
Along those same lines, flammable decorations should always be kept away from fire and heat sources. You may like to hang your stockings on your fireplace, but take them down when you’d like to have a fire in the fireplace. Flammable decorations should also be kept away from radiators and space heaters to prevent fires.
Check for Frayed Cords and Faulty Electrical Outlets
Before plugging in your lights, thoroughly check them for frayed cords and other defects. It’s also important to check the electrical outlet you’ll be plugging in to. Make sure the outlet is up to code, and try to use a GFCI outlet. This type of outlet will automatically cut the power in that circuit if it gets overloaded or wet. This will prevent electrical shock and fires.
Pay Attention to Indoor/Outdoor Designation on Your Lights
Make sure you’re using indoor lights indoors, and outdoor lights outdoors. This tip is especially important for the outdoors, where moisture from snow can cause lights to short circuit. This is a huge fire hazard that is easily avoided.
Keep Holiday Plants Out of Reach of Children and Pets
Common holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, Christmas cactus, and lilies are toxic to pets and children. They can cause mouth and stomach irritation, vomiting, and even cardiovascular problems. If you want to decorate your house with these plants, make sure they’re well out of reach of curious pets and children. Another alternative is to use artificial plants to decorate your home. They’re not only safer, but they’re also usually a lot more cost effective!
Wishing You a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
This year, deck the halls without the safety hazards. Be sure to follow these holiday décor safety tips so you can celebrate the holiday season in style.