What could be more fun than cozying up next to the fire place with hot chocolate while watching Christmas movies in the glow of all your Christmas lights? It truly is a magical time of year to spend with friends and family and the last thing you want is a fire or injury disrupting the holiday season. Here are a few tips to keep your family, pets and home safe as you pull out all those decorations.
Use decorations rated for indoor or outdoor use appropriately
Are you the type of person who loves putting lights on every tree in your yard, setting out all of Santa’s reindeer and blowing up a lighted, inflatable Frosty the snowman? Even if you are more likely to only put one strand of lights outside, it is important that you make sure any decorations you use outdoors are rated for outdoor use. When you go to take down your decorations, store and label the outdoor decorations separate from the indoor ones so there is no confusion next year.
Limit extension cord use
More times than not, when you find the perfect place to hang your lights there is no outlet to be found. This may send you running for an extension cord. However, be sure any extension cords are not damaged and are rated for indoor/outdoor use as needed. Also, don’t string multiple extension cords together and never run them under rugs or out windows.
Never overload outlets
Just because you add adapters to your receptacles, which give you more outlets to plug into, doesn’t mean you have any more power running to that outlet. If you find yourself adding adapters frequently, it is time to call an electrician to install more outlets. This will allow you to add outlets exactly where you need them and avoid overloading any particular outlet or circuit during the holiday season. The electrician will also be able to tell you if your panel can handle the addition of more receptacles.
Keep decorations at least three feet away from heat sources
This is true of all heat sources but especially those with an open flame. So before you hang your stockings on the fireplace or light candles near your Christmas tree, remember the three foot rule.
Inspect your decorations for damage
How long have you been setting out the same decorations? Putting the same string of lights on your Christmas tree? Most of us reuse decorations from year to year and that is perfectly fine as long as you make sure cords aren’t fraying and there is no sign of damage.
It can often be easy to ignore these tips as you get caught up in the fun of decorating. But there is an average of 860 home fires that begin with holiday decorations and an additional 210 home fires that begin with Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association. So take a few extra minutes to follow these important tips and don’t be a statistic this holiday season!
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