Tis the season for stringing up lights, putting out plastic reindeer, and dousing trees with tinsel. In the rush of getting everything together, we can sometimes forget about safety. Faulty lights or tinder-dry trees are a recipe for holiday disaster. Being safety-minded never goes out of season.
Here are a few things to remember when decorating your home for the holidays.
Light up the night
Strings of colourful lights are a hallmark of the season, but they can also create serious hazards. If you are pulling old lights out of storage, check for any frayed or exposed wires first and toss them if you find any damage. If you are buying new lights, most are now LED. They’re easier on the power bill and don’t get as hot as traditional incandescent lights, but don’t connect the two – they weren’t designed to go together.
Whether they’re old or new, always make sure to use the right lights in the right place. Indoor lights were not made for cold or rainy weather and should never be used outside. Outdoor lights are safe to use indoors.
And if you feel you can’t celebrate the holiday without a roaring fire or candlelight, just make sure to be fire-safe. Use sturdy and proper candle holders, never use real candles on a tree, keep all flames a safe distance from children or pets, and never leave any fire unattended. One spark or careless flicker can cause enormous damage.
The right connection
Getting lit for the season takes a home-made style of electrical engineering. Always do so safely. Make sure all lights and cords are fully and securely plugged into the outlet, and never overload the outlet. A loose connection can cause sparks or an electrical shock.
If you use an extension cord, make sure it is the right one for the job. Using an indoor cord for your outdoor decorations is a bad idea. And stringing together several lengths of shorter cords to make one longer cord is a fire hazard. Check for any exposed wires and never run extension cords under carpets or out of windows or doorways where they can be pinched and frayed.
If you’re putting up a tree, the choice is always between real or fake. If you opt for a natural tree, be extra cautious about your lights, cords, and outlets as real trees are a real fire hazard. Keep your tree well watered. Most artificial trees are made to be fire resistant and some come with lights already installed. They’re less of a worry, but still, check for any damage. And finally, whether you’re decking the halls or the tree, use a sturdy ladder to get to those higher places. You don’t need a fall to crash your festivities.