Holiday Decoration Safety

November 26, 2012

Underwrighters Laboratory leads the way in keeping families safe during the holiday season. Safety director, John Drengenberg has a holiday safety checklist.

Tree Safety:

Holiday safety starts in the tree lot.

When buying a fresh tree, run your fingers through the needles to make sure they are fresh; trees that have dry needles burn faster

Water the tree daily: After bringing the tree home, make a fresh cut at the base of the trunk before putting it in a sturdy stand and be sure to water it daily

Steer your tree clear: Your tree should be positioned at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources; it also should not block any doorways or exits

Know your tree's expiration date: Finally, it is important to know your tree's expiration date –fresh cut trees tend to dry out around four weeks and should be taken down

Light Safety & Look for the UL Mark:

Inspect all of your electric lights and decorations: If you plan on re-using last season's decorations and accessories, carefully inspect each electrical decoration before plugging it in. Products with frayed, cracked or exposed wires should be recycled and placed.

Look for the UL Mark: Only use light strings and other electrical decorations that bear the UL mark, signifying that safety standards have been met.

Lights that should be used indoors are marked with a green holographic UL label; lights that are safe to use both indoors and out are marked with a red holographic UL label

When stringing up lights, use plastic hooks. Metal nails and staples can puncture the wires.

Don't overload extension cords or place under rugs or through windows

Candle Safety:

Be flame aware: Place candles far from decorations, window treatments and wrapping paper to avoid potential home fires.

Use a sturdy, non-combustible candleholder that can collect drippings and won't tip over.

Always blow out unattended candles and teach your children to stay away from lit candles or fireplaces.

Lastly, consider purchasing LED battery-operated candles, it's a safer alternative and they look just as good.

For More Information:

To get more valuable information on keeping your home safe and bright this holiday season, please visit

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