The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas Decoration Safety tips!

This photo is a practical joke but it does point out the need to be extra safe when hanging Christmas decorations. The police forced the homeowner to remove it because it garnered so many calls to the 911 center.

Christmas Decoration Safety

The next few days the weather is going to be quite nice so get out and finish your Christmas decorations. But be safe!

Every year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries related to holiday lights, such as falls, cuts and shocks.

In addition, candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss. Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage.

Here are some tips to keep it safe.

Always put candles out! Do not let them burn overnight or out of your sight.

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a "Fire Resistant." tree.

When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators and heat vents. Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly so be sure to keep the stand filled with water.

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.

Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.

Turn off all Christmas lights when you go to bed. The lights could short out and start a fire. Be sure you checked the operation of your smoke detector.

Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. GFCIs can be installed permanently to household circuits by a qualified electrician.

Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked down.

Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.