Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit quite like trimming the tree and decorating your home. While it can be great fun, you need to ensure that you do it safely. Follow these safety tips and enjoy a safe, wonderful holiday season.
Pamper Your Tree
Many people prefer a live Christmas tree, because it smells great and it’s more traditional. Choose a freshly cut tree, if at all possible. Once it’s in your home, check the water level daily, as needles fall off trees from lack water. In addition, a dry tree increases risk of fire.
If you prefer an artificial tree, buy one rated “fire-resistant.” Keep trees away from heat sources such as a fireplace, wood stove, radiator, or heat vent and do not use lit candles on your tree – stick with the electric lights.
Set Up Tree Safely
Set your tree up so it does not block foot traffic or doors. Secure it well in a stand suitable for its height so it will not topple over when decorated. If you have small children or pets at home, consider also anchoring the tree to the wall to prevent curious ones from pulling it down. Don’t load the tree with so many decorations that the stand cannot support it, either. Decorations are great, but you should see the tree, too!
Choose Safe Ornaments
Christmas often means children in the house, so choose your ornaments wisely. Avoid heavy, sharp, or fragile decorations or place delicate ornaments high on the tree so kids and pets can’t reach them.
If you trim the tree with candy canes or other edible delights, don’t hang them low on the tree. Besides possibly ruining their dinner, they can present a choking risk.
Practice Candle Safety
Candles are a common decoration during the holiday season, but use them with care. Place them on a sturdy, heat-resistant surface and out of children’s reach. Keep tinsel and other decorative items away too, and never burn a candle close to flammable materials such as curtains, blankets, or furniture.
Don’t leave candles burning when you leave the room or the house and always extinguish them before you go to bed.
Be Careful Around The Fireplace
While a roaring fire on Christmas morning can add a lot of warmth and ambiance to your celebration, it also comes with some risk.
Don’t throw unwanted wrapping paper into the fireplace. It can cause a flash fire or emit toxic fumes. Recycle or reuse the paper next season. In addition, make sure that you keep children and their newly unwrapped toys far away from the fire.
Check The Lights
Manufacturers must display a tag on lights showing they’ve undergone a rigorous safety test from a nationally-recognized lab. If you own old lights or they’re in poor condition, replace them. Cracked sockets, loose connections, and frayed wires can cause fires. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for their recommendations. Use LED instead of standard bulbs on a metallic tree and never use indoor lights outside.
Plug outdoor lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle or a portable GFCI. Only use outdoor extension cords for exterior lights and ensure all extension cords are well-maintained. Don’t staple or nail cords in place – use hooks instead.
Switch off or unplug the lights and tree before you go to bed. It saves electricity and reduces fire risk.
According the National Fire Protection Association, one structure fire occurs every 66 seconds in the U.S. and more fires occur in the cold winter months, but especially during the holidays.
If you haven’t reviewed your Rhode Island homeowner’s insurance policy recently, do it before the holidays. Your independent insurance agent will ensure you have ample coverage so you and your family can enjoy this special time of the year knowing that you’re well-protected.