The holiday season is a joyous time of year. It is a time when family and friends draw closer together and celebrate the season with open hearts and warm wishes. It can also be a chaotic time with all the hustle and bustle. Shopping for gifts, planning parties, hosting meals and holiday decorating can certainly take its toll.
During our hustle and bustle we sometimes overlook or ignore the issue of safety in this festive season. We should all take the time and care to ensure that our holiday season is as safe as we can make it. Certain holiday decorating safety precautions should be taken to ensure that you have an enjoyable and safer holiday season. We at Best Unique Christmas Trees have compiled a list of some basic holiday decorating safety tips for you.
Christmas Tree Selection
Real trees require higher maintenance due to their very nature. They require more cleanup due to their needle lose and disposal. They must be watered on a regular basis to slow the dry out rate. In the event that you are choosing to use a real tree, try to find one that is very fresh. Some tips on this: bend a branch and make sure it bends back into shape when released, needles should be stable and not fall off easily and there should be no browning of the needles.
When disposing of your real tree, do not do so by means of your fireplace or wood stove as this can be a serious fire hazard as they burn very hot and fast. Real trees should be disposed of through your local municipality who most often have a disposal program at the end of the holiday season.
If you are purchasing an artificial tree you will want to find one that is deemed fire resistant. This information will most often be located on a label on the tree and/or on the packaging. These trees, although not fireproof, will resist burning and, if a fire does occur, it should be able to be extinguished quickly. This being said, one should still take precautions when decorating the tree (as noted below).
Artificial trees are less maintenance as they do not need to be watered and, if you have purchased a high quality tree, have minimal to no needle loose to clean up making cleanup much easier and quicker. Another positive aspect about an artificial tree is that they can be packed up and stored away at the end of the holiday season so there is no need to worry about disposal.
Christmas Tree and Decoration Placement
Our holiday decorating safety tips do not stop with your tree selection. They also include precautions you should take through the decorating process.
Do not place trees and decorations near heat sources such as radiators, baseboard heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves or space heaters. Refrain from placing candles on or around trees and decorations. As with artificial trees, chose decorations that are fire resistant and do not place flammable decorations near heat sources including tree lights (ie. paper made decorations).
Candles are often used to enhance the ambiance of the holiday season. Unfortunately the open flame has also been the responsibility of many a disaster during the holiday season. Please use extra vigilance if you choose to use candles. Keep candles away from decorations or anything combustible. In the event that you have children, keep the candles well out of their reach and their path of play. The same holds true if you are a pet owner and remember that cats especially like to get up into places that they are not necessarily welcome. Keep candles in sight of you so that you can keep an eye on them.
Trees and decorations should not be placed in traffic areas and they should not block doors, staircases or fire exit windows. This will avoid the possibility of personal injury. It will also enable people to exit safely if there is a fire or other emergency.
Check all lights and electrical units before decorating. Replace faulty ones with new ones and use lights that are CSA approved only. Use extension cords that are approved for use with your decorations. Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords. No more than three standard sized light sets should be used per extension cord (check the specs on your cord to be sure). Avoid placing electrical and extension cords under rugs, carpets or mats.
Use the proper electrical and lighting system when decorating indoors and outdoors. Interior systems should be used indoors and exterior systems should be used for decorating outdoors. Doing so will reduce the possible risk of injury and fire.
Avoid using electric lights on metal trees. This is because the lights may become faulty and charge the metal tree which in turn may cause one to be electrocuted if the tree is touched. With this in mind, the same follows when securing lights. Do not use nails or any other metal to securing lights. Always use plastic clips or insulated staples when fastening lights and cords.
Remember to blow out all the candles and turn off all lights and electrical decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
Fire Exit Plan
Holiday decorating safety tips also includes having a fire exit strategy. This applies not only for the holiday season but to the whole year round.
Every household and business should have a fire escape plan. This plan should be practiced and executed regularly to ensure the safety of all. A fire exit plan-b is always a good practice if for some reason plan-a can not be executed. Be sure to include a meeting place after exiting the dwelling so that everyone can be accounted for.
During the holiday season make sure that all fire exits and clear of snow, ice and debris. Make sure doors and windows are not blocked, are easily accessible and in working order. In the event that you live in an apartment you should invest in an escape ladder as an only alternative or a back-up alternative.
We hope that you found our holiday decorating safety tips helpful in planning a safe environment for your holiday festivities. We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season.
Best Unique Christmas Trees