John Drengenberg, Consumer Safety Director for Underwriters Laboratories, joined us in the studio with holiday safety tips.
1. Issue: Fire Safety (Tree)
- When selecting a tree, run your hand along the branch. If lots of needles fall, the tree is not fresh.
- Also, before you bring your tree home, cut a couple of inches off the bottom.
- Water your tree every day.
- Always unplug the lights on your tree when you go to bed or leave the house - not only is it safer to do so, it also saves energy.
- Fresh cut trees tend to dry out after about four weeks and should be taken down.
2. Issue: Fire Safety (Decorating)
Decoration safety - lights:
- Make sure you inspect your light strings for wear-and-tear that may pose a fire or shock hazard.
- Only use light strings and other electrical decorations that bear the UL Mark, signifying that safety standards have been met.
- The red UL mark on the label indicates the item can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- The green UL mark on the label means the item can only be used indoors.
Decorating safety - candles:
- Keep candles away from items that easily catch fire, such as decorations, window treatments and paper.
- Be sure candles are kept far from children's reach and are extinguished any time you leave the room.
3. Issue: Air Quality
-When shopping for candles, choose natural fragrances over artificial ones and look for ones that are unscented and with lead-free wicks.
- And, as you clean your home to get ready for those holiday guests, choose greener cleaners such as low VOC products and vacuums with Hepa filters.
- Also, look for products with the GreenGuard and ECOLABEL logos.
4. Issue: Transaction Security
Make sure you:
- Have anti-virus protection
-Don't click spam emails
- Shop on sites you know and trust; if something looks too good to be true, it probably is
- Also, while this time of year is focused on "the spirit of giving," crooks are waiting to take advantage of people by setting up fake charities and soliciting consumers over the phone and by email.
- Only donate to charities you know and trust.
- If an unknown charity piques your interest, verify it is legitimate first through a reputable organization, such as the Better Business Bureau.