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Safety Protocol for Decorating Around the Holidays

Holidays involve family gatherings, traveling, and making sure your home is ready for hosting. Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people take the break between holidays to decorate for the holidays. Decorating is seen as one of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving decorating each season. Additionally, holiday preparations can often create a fire safety hazard in homes. It is important to remember a few tips while decorating this season:

  • If you are using an artificial tree, check to make sure that it is labeled “fire-resistant.”
  • If you are using a real tree, be sure to cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption.
  • Place your Christmas tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and radiators.
  • Only use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside.
  • Be sure to choose a sturdy latter when hanging lights.
  • Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Turn off all the lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Keep potentially poisonous plants away from children, such as mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, and amaryllis.
  • Avoid placing breakable or small ornaments with detachable parts on lower tree branches where children can reach them.

Not only are there dangers with the set-up and placing of decorations, the National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Using candles and fireplaces in rooms with an increased amount of decorations often creates more of a risk for a fire starting. To lower the risk of a fire, follow some of these safety tips:

  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper in fireplaces.
  • Always use a screen on the fireplace while the fire is burning.
  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over, as well as out of children’s reach.
  • Never leave candles or fireplaces burning unattended or when you are sleeping.
  • Check and clean your chimney and fireplace area at least once a year.
  • Be sure you use flameless candles near flammable objects rather than lighted ones.

Another fire safety hazard is the use of turkey fryers around the holidays, causing around 154 turkey-fryer related fires, burns and other injuries since 2004. The National Safety Council discourages the use of turkey fryers at home and urges individuals to seek out a professional establishment for fried turkey. As we head into the middle of the holiday season, it is important to exercise caution when setting up Christmas decorations and preparing food for get-togethers. The holidays are supposed to be about family and celebration, so remember these safety tips to avoid any type of injury. Unfortunately, accident-related injuries can occur even when remembering safety tips. If you or a loved one are injured due to the negligence of another party, whether it be associated with decorating, or from a fire, the attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are available to consult with. Contact one of our attorneys today at (217) 443-4343 to discuss your legal options.