This time of year, people all around the world celebrate by creating festive holiday displays. It’s a grand tradition, but it comes with some risks. The last thing you want for the holidays is an expensive trip to the hospital, especially for a visitor or loved one.
Plan well, take steps to protect your safety, and avoid unnecessary risks by following these tips:
Holiday lights can have electrical hazards
The worst-case scenario with holiday lights is an electrical issue. These can happen if the lights are cheap, damaged or worn, or if you overload your electrical outlets.
First, buy lights that have been tested for safety. These have certification marks from groups like Underwriters Limited (UL), CSA or ETL.
If possible, choose LED lights, as they use less electricity and run cooler than other lights. This can reduce the risk of electrical problems.
Plan your display based on the location and number of electrical outlets you have available. Don’t use excessive numbers of extension cords. Don’t overload the outlets. Don’t connect too many strings of lights together.
Examine all your lights and decorations for damage or wear, such as bare wires or missing bulbs. These can sometimes cause an electrical shock or a fire.
Store decorations safely out of reach of children and pets, and never stack them higher than eye-level.
Take care when hanging lights and decorations
Your decorations and lights should be well-ventilated, protected from the weather and away from things that could catch fire. For outdoor displays, only use lights and decorations that are intended for outdoor use.
Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder, as metal ladders may conduct electricity.
Never put staples or nails through a decoration’s electrical cord. This could cause shock or fire.
When hanging decorations, stay away from power lines.
Don’t allow decorations to swing freely, as the wind may move them into contact with flammable items.
Before changing parts or attempting repairs, unplug the lights or decorations.
Be careful of creating trip hazards. Tape down electrical cords where they cross walkways or common areas.
Be wary of ongoing fire hazards
Candles are a fire hazard and should never be left unattended. Extinguish them before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep them away from flammable items and do not use them where they could be knocked over. If possible, consider battery-operated candles.
Any holiday light or decoration that uses electricity could be a fire hazard if left alone. Always turn them off before leaving home or the office, and before going to bed.
Natural Christmas trees require water to remain moist and reduce the risk of fire.
Keep your family and visitors safe this holiday season so the celebration can shine.