You’ll no doubt hear the phrase “Happy Holidays!” about a thousand times over the next month. Here at Bitner-Henry Insurance, we’d like to change that a little bit: “Happy – and Safe – Holidays!”
While the holidays certainly bring cheer here in Hagerstown, they also present some danger unless you take care when putting up your tree, lighting candles and keeping that fire going on a cold winter night.
During November and December, according to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 12,000 people are treated in emergency rooms nationwide due to holiday-related decorating accidents. Add to that the number of fires involving Christmas trees, candles and fireplaces, and you can see the importance of making safety a part of your holiday preparations.
Read on for some helpful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to keep your season jolly for kids and adults alike. And make sure to give us a call at 301-739-2260 if you have any questions about your coverage – or if you just need to know when you can drop off your gift to your favorite agency! (We kid, we kid.)
- When purchasing a live tree, make sure to check it for freshness, as dried-out trees present a greater fire risk. It should be green and needles should be hard to pull off and not break when bent between your fingers.
- Make sure an artificial tree is labeled “fire resistant”.
- Any tree set up inside your home should be placed away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Don’t block a doorway with your tree.
- After cutting a few inches off the tree trunk to allow for better water absorption, keep your stand filled with water. Heated rooms can dry live trees out quickly.
Lights and decorations
- Even if you’ve just purchased them, check all lights before hanging them on your tree. The bulbs should all work and there should be no frayed wires or loose connections.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. You or others could be at risk of electrocution.
- Outdoor lights should be certified for outdoor use. Don’t use nails or tacks to hold them in place; instead, use hooks or insulated staples.
- Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house to reduce the risk of shorted-out lights causing a fire.
- Outdoor electric decorations and lights should be plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Never use lighted candles on or near a tree.
Fireplaces and candles
- Remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from the fireplace area before starting a fire. Make sure the flue is open.
- Do not burn gift wrap in the fireplace. Wrapping paper ignites suddenly and burns intensely, which could result in a flash fire.
- Keep all burning candles in sight. Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.
- Make sure candles are on a stable surface where kids and pets cannot reach them or knock them over.
- Of course, keep candles away from other flammable items.
Remember, you can’t have happy holidays without holiday safety. Here’s to you and yours, and a wonderful season for all.