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Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

As the holidays approach and families begin putting up their annual decorations, it is easy to forget about the potential hazards associated with Christmas trees, ladders and lights.

However, by following proper safety procedures, you can help ensure that this year’s festivities will be memorable for the right reasons.

Decoration Related Injuries and Fires

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) documented over 15,000 decoration-related injuries during the 2012 holiday season – a number that has been steadily climbing since 2009 when about 12,000 injuries were reported.

Most common were fall injuries, accounting for 34 percent of all reported decoration-related injuries. This was followed by cuts and lacerations which made up about 11 percent of injuries reported and back strains at 10 percent.

The CPSC is also addressing the dangers of Christmas tree fires. Since 2009, fire departments across the U.S. have responded to approximately 200 Christmas tree fires every year.

These fires have resulted in 10 deaths, 20 injuries and over $16 million in damages.

Christmas Safety Tips

Following information provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Lights and Ladders

    • Only use lights that have been tested by a recognized testing laboratory such as Intertek (ETL), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Underwriters Laboratories (UL). If a set of lights have been tested, the label for one of these laboratories will be placed on the package.
    • Check lights and extension cords for damage including broken sockets and frayed or bare wires. Damaged cords and lights can ignite Christmas trees or flammable decorations.
    • Use a latter that extends at least three feet over the roofline or working surface when putting up decorations.
    • Only use a ladder for its intended purpose, and make sure the latter can support both your weight and the weight of the decorations you are attempting to put up.
  • Christmas Trees

    • When purchasing a tree, make sure the tree is fresh and not dried out. The bottom of the tree should be sticky with resin, and needles should not break when bent with your fingers.
    • Set the tree up away from fireplaces, vents and radiators and keep the tree well watered. Heat sources can dry out trees posing a fire hazard.
    • If purchasing an artificial tree, the CPSC recommends the purchase of a fire resistant tree.
  • Fireplaces and Candles

    • Keep fire salts away from children. Fire salts contain heavy metals that can result in vomiting and gastrointestinal irritation if ingested.
    • Keep wrapping papers away from fireplaces. Wrapping papers can burn intensely and result in flash fires.
    • Do not leave candles unintended – extinguish all candles when you leave a room.
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