The holidays are a magical time of the year, a few safety precautions will make sure that accidents like house fires or burn injuries don’t ruin the festivities. U.S. fire departments reported an estimated average of 780 fires per year that began with decorations (from 2013-2017). These fires resulted in about $12 million in property damage. We must keep safety measures in mind when decorating for the holidays. Lights on dry Christmas trees, candles and an outlet overload could all cause a fire resulting in personal injuries and damages to your property.

Light Installation Tips

Inspect lights for any cord damage.

Thoroughly check your lights to make sure the cords are not frayed; damaged cords can result in an electrical short which could injure you or cause a fire. Throw away any damaged lights and purchase new ones. If your lights are damaged don’t try to repair them, it’s not worth the risk to have a broken cable cause an accident. Inspect newly purchased lights as well for any manufacturing defects that could cause serious injuries.

Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Make sure that you replace bulbs with the correct wattage. Do not install lights until you replace any broken bulbs.

Use lights made for the outdoors.

Outdoor lights are manufactured to withstand the elements such as rain, wind, or snow without being damaged or posing a risk to your home. Indoor lights have a thinner insulation which can become damaged when exposed to the cold, a damaged cord can result in a fire or electric shock. Reserve indoor lights for indoor use only, like on your Christmas tree or over a mantel.

Be careful when using a ladder.

When hanging lights on a roof or gutter make sure you use a ladder safely, wear slip-resistant shoes, climb slowly, avoid sudden movements and make sure the ladder is installed correctly on a flat surface.

Don’t puncture the cords.

Avoid using tacks, screws or nails to hang lights. These objects can pierce through the cord’s insulation and become electrified. Use insulated hooks to secure the lights in place.

Decoration Safety During the Holidays

  • Don’t leave lights on when you go to bed or leave the house. Consider investing in a light timer which will automatically turn them off at a set hour every night.
  • Don’t let children or pets play with the lights. If you know your pets tend to chew on things, make sure that they are placed somewhere they can’t reach. Keep an eye on children whenever they’re around a Christmas tree or other decorations.

How to Safely Remove Christmas Lights 

  • Remove lights in a gentle manner, don’t pull too hard on the cord, this could damage it or it could also damage the structure where the lights are fixed on.
  • When removing lights from trees or bushes, try to do it gently as well as to not damage the plants. Remove the hooks or any object that you used to secure them to make sure that they don’t harm the plants. 

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family, but unfortunate accidents can turn it into a tragic time. Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association state that 38% of home fire fatalities occur during the holiday months of December, January and February. Remember to safely install and remove your Christmas lights and decorations to prevent a catastrophic accident from ruining the holidays.