Holiday Decoration Safety

It's starting to get colder (check out last year's tips) and Christmas and other festive year-end Holidays are coming around again (these tips may also prove useful for New Years). This year, we want to provide our residents with some decorating safety tips straight from the CPSC.

Trees:
1. Look for "Fire Resistant" labels on artificial trees, they will resist burning (but can still catch fire) and should extinguish faster.
2. With live trees check for freshness. Needles should be harder to pull out, not brittle, and when the butt of the tree is tapped on the ground, very few needles should fall off. Keep the tree well -watered to prevent dead needles becoming an added fire-hazed.
3. Do not block entryways and doors. Place the tree away from heaters, stoves, fireplaces, radiators, etc.

Lights:
1. Always check that lights have been inspected by a recognized testing lab. Check each light yourself for broken/cracked sockets, frayed/bare wires, or loose connections despite age and throw out any damaged strings. Outdoor lights should be certified for outdoor use.
2. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. Fasten lights securely in place against wind or tripping hazards using insulated staples or hooks (not tacks or nails) to avoid potential electrocution. For added protection plug lights into circuits protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Portable GFCIs may be purchase where electrical supplies are sold or installed by qualified electricians.
3. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord. Always turn off the lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

Other Decorations and Fireplaces:
1. Use non-combustible and fire-resistant materials to trim trees such as plastic icicles, and check that they don't contain lead.
2. Never use lighted candls on live trees and place candles in non-flammable holders away from areas where they could be knocked over.
3. Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation when applying aerosols (like "angel hair" spun glass) and always follow instructions printed on the containers. Regarding small children, avoid sharp/breakable items, place ornaments/items featuring small parts out of reach, and shy away from using things that resemble food/candy to avoid choking hazards.
4. With fireplaces, use all standard precautions. Take care using fire salts so that they are not ingested and do not burn wrapping paper as it can result in a flash fire.