Avoid Griswold-like Disasters This Holiday Season

I don’t know about you but Christmas is one of our favorite times of year, especially when the Christmas tree is up and the neighborhood is full of lights. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe while decorating the inside, and outside of your house this holiday season.
-Pick your tree carefully: Fresh Christmas trees should have needles that resist being pulled off and do not snap when bent. The trunk should be sticky with resin and the branches should be strong with minimal needle dropping when shaken. Since dry trees are an increased fire hazard choosing a fresh tree will insure your tree doesn’t dry out as quickly. Make sure to check the water levels every day and hydrate when needed.
– Pick your tree’s location even more carefully: Avoid putting your tree next to fireplaces, heating ducts or radiators. Live trees are not fire resistant and even though most artificial trees are, they can still go up in flames.
-Hang ornaments with care: Hang fragile or breakable ornaments up high to keep out of reach of children and pets. When possible replace metal hooks with ribbons or string to prevent chocking or injury.
-Step carefully: When decorating in high spots, be sure to use a ladder that is at least 3 feet over the roofline or working area to avoid over reaching. Be sure the ladder is sturdy enough to hold you and any objects that you are hauling.
-Indoor/outdoor lights: Make sure you use lights in the places they were designed for. Some lights are versatile and can be used inside and outside, others are designed for one of the other.
-Examine your lights and wired decorations carefully before hanging them. Get rid of anything with frayed or bare wires and loose connections as they may pose a fire hazard. Check labels and warnings for wattage limits decorations and plugs, if you are using loads of extension cords and power strips you might be overloading the circuits.
-Chimney safety: Don’t smoke out Santa or your family with a dirty chimney, have your fireplace or wood stove checked annually to make sure it is working properly. Avoid throwing your wrapping and tissue paper into the fire as it could ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

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