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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 12/1/2005

Tips for Holiday Decorating Safety

In This Season of Warmth and Cheer, Avoid Holiday Decorating Fears

(ARA) - With the holidays just around the corner, a season of joyous celebration and festive decorations is quickly coming upon us. The holidays invite all sorts of fun activity, from lighting candles to stringing lights, yet one of the most important considerations is keeping your house and family safe from fire and injury.

Even the most common holiday activities and traditions can lead to accidents in the home if certain safety precautions are not considered, says Sue Dempsey, vice president of sales, North America, for CSA International. The use of decorations, candles, and Christmas trees in homes contributes to an increase in residential fires during December and early January. In fact, more than 100,000 fires are reported during the holiday season, several of which tragically result in death or serious injury. By taking the proper safety precautions, families can help remove potential dangers associated with holiday decorating and preserve the fun.

CSA International, a leading North American product certification and testing organization, offers these tips for holiday home safety:

* Always turn off holiday lights when you leave the house unattended or when going to bed.

* Carefully inspect holiday light strings each year and discard any frayed cords, cracked lamp holders or loose connections. When replacing bulbs, unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.

* Try to purchase a freshly cut tree, as they are more resistant to ignition. Keep your Christmas tree watered and out of the range of open candles. When using an artificial Christmas tree, choose one that is tested and labeled fire resistant. Regardless of the type of tree, place it away from heat sources such as radiators or fireplaces.

* Use an outdoor timer certified by CSA International to switch lights on and off. Lights should be turned on after 7 p.m. to avoid the electricity rush hour.

* When purchasing light strings, extension cords, spotlights, electrical decorations, gas appliances, or carbon monoxide alarms, look for the certification mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL or ELT to ensure that the products comply with applicable standards for safety and performance.

* Never connect more than one extension cord together. Instead use a single cord that is long enough to reach to the outlet without stretching, but not so long that it can get easily tangled.

* When hanging outdoor lights, keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal rain gutters. Use insulated tape or plastic clips instead of metal nails or tacks to hold them in place.

* Using a ladder when you put up lights? Choose the correct ladder for the job and double check for a certification mark to ensure your portable ladder complies with applicable standards.

* Do not use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked or broken, and only allow a qualified service person to replace fireplace parts.

* Sound the alarm: Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they work, and be sure to install smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level of your home -- especially near sleeping areas.

* To help prevent CO hazards in your home, have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating seasons.

* Clean the clutter. Do not store combustible materials such as gasoline, propane, paper, chemicals, paint, rags and cleaning products near your gas furnace. Gasoline or propane cylinders should be stored outside the home. Courtesy of ARA Content.



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