November 17, 2015
Decorate Safely and Wisely for the Holidays

Are you getting excited about the winter holidays, studies?

Many of you are probably thinking about putting up outdoor lights or Christmas trees soon. Some of you may be planning Chanukah or Kwanzaa celebrations and setting out menorahs or kinaras. And some of you may be looking forward to long winter nights sitting in front of a warm fireplace.

But did you know that home structure fires occur more often in December and January than in any other month? And many of those fires are directly attributable to holiday lighting, candles and hearths?

That’s what the National Fire Protection Association found in a study conducted from 2009-2013. When decorating for your holiday celebration, take especial care.

Before you go to bed or leave the home, make sure that you blow out all candles and refrain from putting an extra log on the fire. Never leave a fire unattended.

Check strands of lights for frayed wires, holes in insulation and broken bulbs. Discard damaged strings and trade in strands that use older, tungsten filament bulbs for those that use cooler, safer, more energy-efficient LED lights.

If it is raining or snowing outside, avoid plugging light strands into outdoor sockets — plugging in a wet prong could throw dangerous sparks, or even electrocute you. You might consider running all your lights from sockets that connect to indoor light switches. Just make sure you don’t overload a single socket.

If you have a Christmas tree, follow these wise tips to reduce the likelihood that it would ignite. Never leave your Christmas tree plugged in overnight. Make sure you unplug it whenever you leave home.

Don’t leave small children or pets unattended near a Christmas tree, fireplace, or lit candles. They could tip it over and injure themselves, or spark a fire.

And run all your Christmas tree and indoor light strands from a surge protector — this reduces the chance that an overloaded socket could blow and throw sparks.

The winter is a wonderful time for lights, family and memories, my studies. But heed the steps above. Make sure your holiday is worry-free.