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Holiday Electrical Fire Safety Tips

by VitalStorm Content on December 15, 2017

For all the gifts, decorations, food and cheer that fill the holiday season, Christmas also has a reputation for requiring additional safety precautions. Of course, a little extra caution is called for, but it shouldn’t dampen your holiday cheer. By taking a few precautions during the decorating process, and following some simple day-to-day habits, you can keep your house safe and full of cheer. The professionals at Blue Flame Heating & Air Conditioning have put together a list of essential safety tips to follow this season.

‘O Christmas Tree’

When it comes to Christmas decorations, a tree is among the most well-known decorations. Despite this, Christmas tree fires aren’t common but are more serious when they do occur, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). More than half of all Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems (one-third) or proximity to a heat source (one-quarter), according to the NFPA data.

To avoid these and other potential dangers with trees this holiday season, follow these tree safety practices:

  • Pick the best tree. When it comes to selecting a natural tree, look for fresh, green needles. They should not fall off when touched. If you’re using an artificial tree, make sure it’s flame retardant.
  • Water natural trees daily. Remember that the drier the tree, the greater its fire risk., To keep the tree fresh, make sure to water it daily. Tests done by the NFPA show that this significantly reduces the risk posed by fire.
  • Discard trees promptly. After Christmas, take down decorations and get rid of (or put away) your tree. Don’t procrastinate. More than 37 percent of Christmas tree fires occur in the month of January, according to NFPA data.
  • Decorate safely. If you’re considering flocking your tree, pick a flocking product that is non-toxic and flame retardant. Remember to use lights that are labeled for indoor use when decorating an indoor tree. Don’t keep the tree lit when no one is in the home, and turn out the lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

‘Deck the Halls’

Whether your lights adorn the tree or drape the walls of your home, you can minimize electrical and fire safety hazards this holiday season by following a few bright ideas:

  • Safety standards are your guiding light. When purchasing lights and other electronic decorations, look for brands approved by an accredited laboratory for indoor or outdoor use, depending on your application.
  • Consider your candles carefully. Though lit candles provide a great ambiance, homeowners should consider replacing them with electronic models. If lit candles are a must for your décor, keep them at least three feet from other decorations, and do not leave them burning unsupervised.
  • Out with the old, and in with the new. The year-end holiday season is all about new beginnings. Inspect your decorations, replacing worn out strands of lights. If you haven’t already, switch to LED lights, which consume less electricity and have a more favorable safety profile compared to older incandescent lighting.
  • Keep it reasonable. Don’t overload your outlets or breakers. If you’ve got LED light strands, the U.S. department of energy says that up to 25 strands can be chained together without overloading an outlet, but it’s wise to check your manufacturer’s specs. It’s safe to say, though, that if you’re going beyond 25 strands, don’t be surprised if your holiday celebration winds up resembling the Griswold’s.

Though far from exhaustive, the above tips should help keep you and your home safe this holiday season. If you’re still unsure about how to best arrange your decorations safely this Christmas, give your local electric experts a call to evaluate your setup and make safety recommendations.