Safety Tips for Hazard-Free Holiday Decorating

This time of year the goal for every family should be to create a home sweet safe home for the holidays. Trimming the tree and stringing up the lights is a longstanding tradition during the holiday season. And what celebration is complete without a festive feast? Unfortunately, decking the halls or carving the roast beast can put you and your loved ones in danger.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found, on average, that there are around 160 decorating-related injuries each day during the holiday season and almost half involve falls. The CPSC says other injuries from decorating included dry Christmas trees and unattended candles, leading to damaging and sometimes deadly fires. From 2016 to 2018, there were about 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle fires in November and December each year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3,800 people died from fire-related injuries in 2022, and 75% of those fires happened in homes. Consider these safety tips for hazard-free holiday decorating to keep your season full of comfort and joy:

Decorate For the Holidays Without Creating a Fire Hazard

Don’t let fire hazards stop you from enjoying the spirit of the season. Accidents involving Christmas trees, candles, and lights can happen. Here’s how to decorate with fire safety in mind:

  • Choose a tree wisely – Always check the freshness of a live Christmas tree. A fresh tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and the needles do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. And once you get it home, ensure you are watering your tree often! If you’re buying an artificial tree, look for the label “fire resistant.”
  • Keep an eye on candles – Candles should always be displayed on a stable, heat-resistant surface and extinguished before you leave the room or the house and before going to bed. 
  • Check the lights – Use lights tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Examine new and old lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Plug one cord in at a time and throw away any cords with exposed wires.
  • Maintain a safe distance – Decorations should be placed at least three feet away from the fireplace. And think twice before tossing discarded wrapping paper into the fire: Wrappings can ignite suddenly and create a flash fire.

Fall Prevention Tips for Do-It-Yourself Decorators

Safety groups strongly recommend property owners use a professional decorating company for installing lights and other festive decor. About 5,800 individuals are treated annually in hospital emergency rooms for injuries sustained from falls involving holiday decorations. If you plan on installing your own holiday decor this season, keep these fall prevention tips in mind:

  • Stabilize your ladder – Broken ankles or legs are common from a ladder fall, in addition to wrist and arm injuries or even head trauma. Clear a flat and stable area to set up your ladder while hanging decorations, and never stand on the top rung.
  • Clean up clutter – Extension cords or presents under the tree can be a tripping hazard. Not to mention all the scarves, hats, boots, and more that accompany the winter weather! Put away anything that you or others may stumble over.
  • Keep walkways clear – Although snow in Tucson is rare, some of you may remember the last time it snowed in December. Nonetheless, it’s best to be prepared. Ice and snow on driveways and sidewalks can be hazardous to you or your holiday visitors. Keep up on snow removal, and use salt in icy conditions.

Keep Your Holiday Home Fire and Injury Free This Season

The simple truth is that holiday decorating can be hazardous. But it doesn’t have to be dangerous. Put safety at the top of your list when decorating this holiday season to keep your holiday home fire and injury free. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and magical holiday season. Happy Holidays from all of us at Bache & Lynch!