I published this a few years ago, but these basics never go out of style:
The NFPA reports over 200 fires annually due to Christmas trees alone (http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/holiday/christmas-tree-and-holiday-lights). Because the holiday season should be a time of merriment, we offer the following safety tips to keep your family and your business safe this holiday season:
- Live Trees: Water, water, water! Pine needles dry out quickly and are extremely flammable. Avoid placing your tree too near a fireplace or furnace vent, and check the water level daily. Additionally, make sure the trunk of your tree is cut evenly so it stands level within the stand to avoid tipping accidents.
- Artificial Trees: Use flame resistant artificial trees. Look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label on all pre-lit trees.
- Wood Stoves, Fireplaces, and Candles: The holidays are the perfect time to light a cozy fire or burn a scented candle, so be extra vigilant about hot coals, open flames, and proximity to flammables during this season.
- Extension Cords: All those lights require a great deal of planning. Check all used cords (and timers) for damage each season. Confirm that all cords are UL-approved and are proper for exterior use. Be careful not to overload interior outlets or use an excessive amount of extension cords. Place cords near the wall, out of walkways, and never tuck an electrical cord beneath a rug.
- Children and Animals: Be very alert to plants that may be poisonous when ingested by small children or animals. Likewise, consider wagging dog tails and high traffic areas when positioning your tree or placing breakable or ingestible décor.
- Holiday Lights: Turn off all lights and lighted decorations when you are sleeping or the building is empty. Unplug extension cords if you will be away from the building for an extended period of time.
Happy holidays from our house to yours!