12 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe When Decorating for the Holidays
Between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, many of us do a lot of decorating, both indoors and out. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA), “In 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees.” Use these tips to ensure that you keep your home (and the people and pets inside of it!) safe this holiday season.
Be Smart With an Open Flame
Although this seems obvious, the U.S. Fire Administration notes that candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires and that the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Years Day, and Christmas Eve. Although you may love to burn candles during the holidays, remember to blow them out when you leave the house and keep them far from your decor. Or, switch from real candles to flameless. Some of these safer candles look surprisingly realistic and come with a remote control!
Take Care of Your Tree
A real Christmas tree are smells and looks great, but it requires considerable care. Keep it hydrated, away from heat, and be sure that the lights you hang on it are in good condition. And if your Christmas tree starts to die, here’s how to fix it!
Look for UL on Your Lights
Lights that have the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) tag have met certain safety standards. A red label means the lights can be used both inside and out, while a green label indicates that the lights are for indoor use only.
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Skip the Faux Snow
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that fake snow that comes in cans can irritate lungs. (This can be particularly dangerous if you have family members with asthma). There are so many other decorating options, just skip the fake snow.
Teamwork Helps with Heights
Before you scale a ladder to hang lights, indoors or out, get someone to spot you. The last thing you want to do is end up in the ER during the holidays. And whatever you do, never ever use your ladder like this!
Limit Extension Cords
You’ll likely be using extension cords during the holidays, so be careful. Not only can all these extra plug-ins cause electrical overloads, those extension cords can also create tripping hazards around your house. Here’s everything you’ll ever need to know about preventing electrical overloads.
Consider Hanging Your Stocking Somewhere Other Than the Mantel
It’s a time honored tradition to hang your stockings by the chimney, but if you’re going to have a fire in the fireplace, consider flame-retardant stockings or another location. Also, make sure there aren’t highly flammable or meltable things in the stockings. And, always keep wrapping paper away from the fireplace. Check out our collection of DIY gift wrapping hacks.
Say No to Fake Food
These apples are fake. Small children, pets and even adults may not notice the difference between decorative apples, gingerbread men or ribbon candy and the real thing. If your favorite decoration is adorned with fake food, be sure to place it up high to avoid a mishap.
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Keep Small Pieces Away from Kids and Pets
Many holiday decorations have small pieces that can easily fall off or be pulled off. If there are toddlers and/or pets in your house, be diligent about keeping anything with small pieces up out of their reach and monitor the floor for little items that could be ingested or cause choking.
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Handling Broken Glass
Glass ornaments are beautiful and many of us have a collection that includes some heirlooms. However, no matter how careful you are, ornaments do fall off of the tree and break. It’s important to clean up all of the tiny shards of glass, especially if there are children and/or pets in the house. Here is the smartest way to handle and dispose of broken glass.
Make a Safety Plan
You should have a safety plan for your family all year long, but if you don’t, the holidays are the time to put one in place. Where will you meet up if you leave the house due to a fire or other emergency? What are the quickest ways out of each room if there is a fire? Does everyone know where the fire extinguishes are located? Here are many more helpful tips for handling home emergencies.
Be Aware of your “New” Space
If you’re an avid decorator, family and friends may get distracted by looking at your holiday extravaganza. Make sure everyone is aware of lit candles, the location of extension cords, etc. so everyone stays safe!
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