Safe Holiday Decorating Tips for Homeowners

The holidays are upon us and if you want to avoid a ho-ho-horror show at your home, there are some very important safety tips to ensure your home (and sanity) survive the holiday season. It’s so easy to have a set-it-and-forget-it mentality this time of year, especially with all the holiday hectic-ness, but here are some very quick tips to hopefully help avoid disaster (courtesy of our friends at State Farm Insurance.)

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Electrical safety

  • Only make purchases from trusted retailers to avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit products.

  • Be sure to buy decorations according to your intended use outdoors or indoors.

  • Always buy electrical equipment that displays a label indicating it has undergone independent testing by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

  • Don't use lights without fused plugs.

  • Inspect lights for broken sockets, frayed wires and loose connections. Dispose of any damaged sets.

  • Never connect more than three strands of lights together.

  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices, as they can overheat and cause a fire.

  • Always plug outdoor electrical decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

  • Turn off all electrical decorations when you leave the house or go to sleep.

Ladder safety

  • Never use furniture as a ladder.

  • Always inspect and clean your ladder before climbing onto it.

  • Follow the 1-to-4 rule for extension ladders: For every four feet the ladder rises, move the base out one foot from the structure.

  • Always keep three points of contact on the ladder: two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

  • Keep your hips between the side rails. Climb down and move the ladder if you can't reach an area.

Fire safety

  • Avoid using candles when possible, and consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.

  • If you do use candles, keep them at least 12 inches from flammable material.

  • Only use fire-resistant artificial trees.

  • Make sure live trees have green pine needles that don't fall off easily or break when bent, and look for sticky resin on the trunk.

  • Never place a tree by a fireplace, radiator or other heat source.

  • Always use noncombustible or flame-resistant tree decorations.

  • Avoid decorating the mantel with stockings, greenery or other flammable decorations if you use your fireplace frequently.