It is the holiday season, hopefully full of good times, family, and good food. The holiday season while it can be fun and bright and merry can also bring an increased risk of fire and accidents but if you follow a few helpful tips your holidays can go smoothly.

Holiday Lighting

                Lights are often a holiday favorite but when used incorrectly can lead to fire or electrical shock. Make sure to inspect all strings of light for any damage before plugging them in and make sure when hanging lights, you use hooks of insulated staples to avoid damaging the lights. Make sure to never use electric lights on a metallic tree; the tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. When hanging lights outside, before you hang them make sure they have been certified for outside use and that all strands are plugged into circuits with ground-fault circuit interrupters. A few extra moments of inspecting your lights can save you a huge headache later.

Tree Safety

                If you and your family have a natural tree as part of your holiday decorations here are a few tips to help keep it alive and fire free. First when choosing a tree look for one that is as fresh and green as possible. Make sure that the needles bend instead of breaking and do not fall off easily.  Before placing your new tree in water cut an inch or two off the bottom, this will allow the tree to soak up water. When choosing a tree stand make sure you pick one that holds water and water your tree daily. Most importantly keep your tree away from fireplaces, radiators, or other heat sources, this will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a potential fire hazard.

Kids and Pets

                When you have small children and pets there are often many hazards to be on the watch for, and the holidays bring a whole new set of hazards with them. Make sure to keep decorations at least 6 inches above the child’s reach and avoid using tinsel. Tinsel is prone to falling on the floor and a curious child or pet may eat it; this can cause anything from mild distress to death. Also ensure any ribbons on gifts and tree ornaments are shorter than 7 inches; strands of ribbon longer than 7 inches could potentially become wrapped around the child’s neck and lead to choking. If you decorate your home with poinsettias plants make sure to keep them out of reach as they are poisonous to both humans and animals.

                All these tips may seem like common sense but often in all the excitement of the holiday season we forget the small steps important steps like checking outdoor lights and watering the tree.