Holiday Hazard: Are Your Decorations Dangerous?

Posted on December 19th, 2013

The holiday season is a joyous time for many as we flitter and flutter about, running from one gathering to another. And for some, turning your homes into personal winter wonderlands is high on the priority list. But decking the halls comes with a major responsibility as well—attending to the safety of you and yours.

As you trot out your décor this year, make sure to check for faulty wiring, particularly on older Christmas decorations. That pretty, glowing angel from your great grandmother’s coffers might be hiding a sparking bulb connection under her skirt. And make sure your decorations, especially wax or plastic ones, aren’t close to heat sources like lights, candles or fireplaces. Speaking of candles, you might want to check into battery-operated or flameless alternatives, and never leave a burning candle unattended.

If you have a real Christmas tree in your home, make sure to keep it watered throughout the season. As trees dry out, they become more flammable and even more of a risk. Make sure your tree is a few feet from your fireplace if you plan to have a fire. And, when it comes to lights—whether they are on a tree, a banister or outside on your porch—never connect more than three strands of lights together. You want to be sure not to overload any plugs or power strips.

Here are some facts about home holiday fires from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires.
  • More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11 percent of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4 percent the rest of the year.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

And for more decoration safety tips, check out this infographic from FEMA:

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/holiday_infographic.pdf

Ready Shelby wishes you a safe and happy holiday season! 

Tags: Fire Safety Tips

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