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‘Tis the Season to Decorate Safely

Nov 27, 2022 09:26AM ● By Editor
From the American Red Cross • November 27, 2022

It’s time to deck your halls and the American Red Cross has steps to help you decorate safely.

Candles are very popular, especially around the holidays. But candles also increase the risk of fire. Their popularity leads to nearly three times as many candle fires on Christmas Day, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

If you are burning candles, place them on a sturdy surface where they can’t be easily knocked over. Also, place them far away from flammable items such as decorations and greenery. Monitor candles closely and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.

The Red Cross offers these additional steps you can take to decorate your home safely:

  • Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
  • Turn off all holiday lights and decorations when going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
  • If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.
  • If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
  • Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.
  • Check the labels of older decorations. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
  • If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.
     

AVOID HOME FIRES 

Help keep your family safe by testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your home fire escape plan until everyone can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to leave a burning home before it’s too late.

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information or download the free Red Cross Emergency app which you can find by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.