Today’s post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan, from The Jernigan Law Firm in North Carolina. Like our colleague, Mr. Jernigan, Rehm, the staff of Bennett & Moore wishes you a happy and safe holiday season. This means being safe with decorating, regardless of culture, and being smart when traveling to see family and friends who have become family. Take care!
We normally focus on workplace safety, but during the holidays, many of our readers will spend time at home with their families. Holiday decorations are an important tradition, but these decorations, both new and old, can turn a festive holiday into a dangerous one. These important tips will show you how to make your holiday a safe holiday.
If you decide to buy an artificial Christmas tree, it should be fire resistant. Check the tags or labels for this. While “fire resistant” doesn’t mean “fire proof,” it is a step in the right direction.If you buy a natural Christmas tree, check to make sure it is fresh. You can tell a tree is fresh if its needles are green and don’t bend of break between your fingers. Also, the bottom of a fresh tree will have sticky resin and, if you tap the tree on the ground, won’t shed too many needles. Keep your natural tree watered. This means checking the stand every day, especially in a heated room.
No matter what kind of tree you have, do not place it near fireplaces, vents and radiators.
Lighting candles is a big part of holiday celebrations for people of many cultures, but left unattended, candles pose a fire hazard. Keep all burning candles within sight. If you go out, leave the house or even go into a different room, extinguish all candles first.
Candles can tip over or fall. Place a fireproof dish or candle holder below any burning candles. Also, keep candles away from anything flammable, including Christmas trees, decorations, curtains, and furniture.
3. Electric Lights
Decorating the interior or exterior of your house with electric lights can brighten up the winter gloom. But old, damaged or shoddily made lights can be the source of fires. Before buying lights, make sure they are approved by a national recognized testing agency like UL or ETL. Look for their seal.
Older lights can have thin wire and often do not have safety fuses, which prevent overheating. Also, after years of use, whether indoor or outdoors, lights can break, the sockets can crack, wires can fray or become exposed and connections can loosed. Before plugging your lights in, check them carefully. Even though it may be a little more expensive to buy new lights, continuing to use old lights can be hazardous.
Finally, only use lights certified for outdoor use outside. Only plug them into a ground fault circuit interrupter safety outlet.