As you get into the holiday spirit this year with fun and festive décor, it’s important to remember a few tips to safely decorate for the holidays. There are more house fires during the holiday season than any other time of the year due to all the lighting, candles, and cooking meals. Luckily, there are many helpful tips to decorate your home safely.
Christmas Tree Safety
If you plan on purchasing an artificial tree, make sure it says “fire-resistant.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t catch on fire, but it does mean that the tree is more resistant to burning. If you are buying a live tree, make sure the tree is fresh. A fresh tree is green, has needles that are hard to pull from branches, and a trunk bottom that is sticky with resin. When you shake your tree, few needles should fall off.
Make sure you place your tree away from fireplaces, portable heaters, heating ducts, and radiators. According to the USFA, one in every four Christmas tree fires starts from a heat source too close to the tree. Be sure to water your tree frequently. To see if your tree is properly hydrated, give a branch a gentle tug to see if any needles break. If needles are falling off of your tree or if the branches are brittle, it is not getting enough water.
Safely Decorate For the Holidays When Using a Ladder
Another safety tip that is often overlooked when decorating for the holidays is ladder safety. Ladders are commonly used to hang decorations on your house. They should be placed on level, firm ground, leaning on a 75-degree angle from the ground. If climbing to the roof they should extend 3 feet over the roofline.
Always wear appropriate footwear when climbing a ladder and never stand on the top two steps. If possible, have someone assist you in supporting the base of the ladder, or at least make sure someone is home while you’re using it.
Hanging String Lights
String lights are a huge hit when decorating for the holidays, but it’s important to remember that they can be hazardous. Inspect your lights carefully and replace any that are broken, frayed, or have loose connections. For outdoor lights and extension cords, be sure they are intended for outdoor use. Never connect more than three strings of lights end to end and don’t string multiple extension cords together.
Using Candles Safely
Candles are popular decorations during the holidays. More fires caused by candles occur on Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day than at any other time of year. Always keep your candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping and never leave a lit candle unattended. Keep your candles away from anything flammable and out of children’s’ reach.
Better yet, safely decorate for the holidays by opting for LED flameless candles instead that will still provide a warm and relaxing atmosphere without any worries. Some electric candles come with a remote control and timer for even more convenience.
Power Down Before Bed
Before going to bed or leaving your house, turn off all string lights on the tree and outside. Using a timer for your lights is a simple safety feature to install. Remember to put out the fire in the fireplace and turn off all cooking appliances, too. The holidays can be tiring and it’s easy to fall into bed without first shutting everything off for safety.
Test all of the smoke detectors in your home and have an escape plan that everyone knows in case of a fire. By taking extra precautions both inside and outside of your home, you can safely decorate for the holidays.
Housetex Pro Inspections wishes you a happy holiday season! We serve West Houston and the surrounding areas with home inspection services.