The holiday season is officially upon us, and lights are going up on homes everywhere. This year while you’re trimming the tree and decking the halls, remember that, no matter how badly you wish to have the most festive home in town, it isn’t work risking your or your family’s safety. To avoid potentially devastating decorating disasters – such as falls or electrical fires – keep these holiday lighting safety tips in mind.
Choose Safe Decorations
When shopping for your Christmas lights and displays, choose ones that are safe. Ideally, they should only be purchased from reputable retailers, and the packaging should display some form of safety certification. You should also always check to make sure that the decorations you choose are appropriate for your intended use. Lights and displays intended for indoor use should never be used outdoors as they are not rated to withstand moisture.
Instead of traditional incandescent light bulbs, consider LED, or light-emitting diode lights. In addition to lasting up to 20 times longer than incandescent lights, they are much cooler, making them safer and less likely to cause fires. They’re more durable and, because they’re not made of glass, they’re less likely to break. The initial investment is higher, but they pay for themselves in the long run.
If you’re going to be using decorations from years past, thoroughly inspect them prior to plugging them in for the first time. Examine wires to make sure the coating is not cracked, stripped or otherwise damaged. Look for broken or missing bulbs, and replace them as appropriate. If everything looks good, carefully plug the decoration in to look for burnt out bulbs. If you have any doubt that your decorations are in proper working condition, throw them away and purchase new ones. Saving a few quid isn’t work risking safety.
Avoid Disaster When Decorating
Whether you’re decorating indoors or outdoors, it’s important to always keep safety in mind. If you’re going to be climbing, make sure the ladder you use is in good condition and is rated to support your weight. When climbing, keep one hand on the ladder at all times. Have a second person stand at the bottom of the ladder to steady it, and never try carrying more up than you can handle. Never attach lights using staples or nails. Doing so could cause serious damage to your home, and if you staple through the wire, you risk electrical shock and fire. Instead, use plastic clips that are made specifically for hanging lights. When plugging in your lights and decorations, never overload your outlets. If using extension cords, make sure they are rated for your application, and never string multiple cords together. To avoid tripping hazards, wires and extension cords should never be run through high-traffic areas. They should also never be run through ceilings or walls as doing so could cause overheating.
Stay Safe Throughout the Season
Choosing the right decorations and putting them up properly is only part of the battle. To ensure your family’s safety, you need to remain vigilant throughout the holiday season. If any bulbs blow out, unplug the decoration and replace them right away. Never leave your decorations turned on when you’re away from home or sleeping. From time to time, check to make sure that no cables have become trapped in doors, windows or under heavy furniture, and check your plugs to make sure they are in the socket securely. The holiday season is a time for joyful moments spent with family and friends. Don’t let decorating accidents put a damper on your spirit. Keep these simple safety tips in mind to ensure a happy and festive holiday for all.