Must-Know Holiday Safety Tips
While this time of the year is packed with joyous moments and festive activities, holiday-related mishaps can happen in the blink of an eye. According to the national nonprofit Home Safety Council® (www.Homesafetycouncil.org), many popular decorating traditions—from lighting candles to hanging lights—can put you and your guests at risk.
Adhere to these safety guidelines from the Home Safety Council to help keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way:
- Keep candles at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including decorations, wrapping paper, curtains, linens and upholstery.
- Place candles where they cannot be easily knocked down, and make sure they’re out of the reach of pets and young children.
- To eliminate the risk of an open candle flame, use battery-powered candles whenever possible, especially when you combine candles with greenery or other decorations.
- Check for red or green UL marks on all light strings and extension cords. The green holographic UL mark means the light strings should only be used indoors. The red holographic UL mark indicates the light strings can be used both inside and out—and can withstand conditions related to outdoor use.
- Follow manufacturer’s guidelines for stringing light sets together. As a general rule, UL recommends using no more than three standard-size sets of lights together.
- Hang or mount light strands carefully to avoid damaging the cord’s insulation.
- Plug outdoor decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shock.
- When replacing a light bulb, be sure to use the correct bulb size (wattage) that is right for the fixture.
- When climbing up to hang lights or decorations, avoid the temptation to stand on a chair and get the ladder out instead.
- When using a ladder outdoors, be sure to place the ladder on level ground and open it completely, making sure all locks are engaged.
- Use the 4-1 rule for extension ladders: for each 4 feet of distance between the ground and the upper point of contact (such as the wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out 1 foot.
- Keep your body centered on the ladder and gauge your safety by where your belt buckle should be. If your buckle passes beyond the ladder rail, you are overreaching and at risk for falling.
- Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For a stepladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top, and for an extension ladder, it’s the fourth rung from the top.