The National Fire Protection Association says more than 800 home fires are caused each year by holiday decorations and about 200 house fires are linked to Christmas trees. The Electrical Safety Foundation International advises:
- Make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations are marked for proper use and inspected before use.
- Outdoor electrical lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
- Be careful if you’re decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from those lines, including the overhead service line that may connect to your home.
- Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
- Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights together.
- Water your Christmas tree daily.
- Keep all decorations at least three feet from heating equipment or an open flame.
- Buy electrical decorations from reputable retailers and that are approved by a national recognized testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories, Intertek or CSA Group.
“Injury prevention is an important part of good health,” says David Burmeister, DO, Chair, Department of Emergency and Hospital Medicine, LVHN. “Good safety practices are important year-round, but especially during the busy holiday season when our focus can get distracted. Taking the extra time to do things right makes all the difference.”