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Tips for Safely Decorating Your Home for the Holidays

After listening to holiday tunes for the bulk of November, many people are in the mood to deck the halls. Before you bust out the holly and start trolling carols, consider the potential hazards you might be placing about your home.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 160 Christmas trees catch fire every year, on average. Among those fires, half were caused by electrical distribution or lighting equipment and nearly 1-in-5 Christmas tree fires were started by decorative lights.

Here are some tips for safely decorating during the holiday season,

  • If you’re putting up an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire resistant before decorating. Additionally, vintage decorations made from lace, paper, and fabric are often flammable, making it critical to display them away from any heat source, including other holiday lights.
  • Open flame candles can be a fire hazard, making more modern battery-operated LED candles a better option. If you decided to be more traditional, be sure to keep candles away from trees, wreaths, or other decorations that can easily catch fire.
  • Don’t connect more than three light strings to an extension cord and be sure to unplug lights when you are not at home or going to sleep.
  • Dried out Christmas trees are a major fire hazard. When picking a life tray, give it a shake, make sure it is sticky to the touch and that minimal needles fall off. Keep life trays at least 3 feet from his sources and be sure to water daily.
  • While it might be tempting to jam as much holiday cheer into your season with an abundance of decorations, be sure not to block any doorways or exits

And let’s not forget the safety tips for cooking that holiday dinner:

  • Never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Some types of cooking, especially those that involve frying or sautéing with oil, need continuous attention.
  • When cooking a turkey, remain at home and check it regularly.
  • Make use of timers to keep track of cooking times, particularly for foods that require longer cook times.
  • Keep things that can catch fire like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels at least three feet away from the cooking area.
  • Avoid long sleeves and hanging fabrics that can come in contact with a heat source.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. Only open the door once you’re confident the fire is completely out, standing to the side as you do. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the fire department for assistance.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove. Kids should also stay away from hot foods and liquids, as steam or splash from these items could cause severe burns.