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10 Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

December 10, 2013

Is your house all decorated for the holidays yet? If you’re waiting till next weekend to tackle the lights, inflatables, giant Santa, light-up nativity, and, of course, the Christmas tree, keep in mind the 12,500 Americans who end up in the emergency room every year because of holiday decor-related accidents. Don’t be like Buddy the Elf, here are 10 safety tips to keep in mind while you’re decking the halls.

1. Make sure your artificial tree is fire retardant, and keep your live tree well watered. Keep any tree away from your fireplace or radiators.

2. Use no more than 3 standard strands of lights per extension cord. You can’t light up your entire house and yard from one outlet!

3. Don’t put electric lights on metallic trees. Metal trees can conduct electricity and shock or electrocute you if you touch it. This mostly applies to vintage silver trees–newer ones are not actually made of metal.

4. Use ornaments that are safe for your family and friends. If you’ve got small children or pets that like to eat everything they see, avoid those metal ornament hooks and small or breakable baubles.

5. If you’re using a ladder to hang lights or decorations, it should extend 3 feet past the highest point you need to reach–no standing on the top rung!

6. Check your lights every year to ensure that the wires and bulbs are intact. Replace them if they’re starting to fray.

7. Take extra care when securing your inflatables to the ground. They’re cute and fluffy in your yard, but very dangerous when flying down the street if they blow away.

8. Don’t throw your wrapping paper into the fire. Paper ignites quickly and embers can float out of the fireplace and cause a house fire.

9. Place candles in safe areas, away from any other decorations or furnishings that could catch fire. And always blow them out when you leave the room.

10. Before lighting the Yule log, have your chimney swept and inspected.

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