Decorating a home for the holidays is a tradition for many families. To keep your holidays safe and worry-free, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourage you to refer to this checklist to reduce the risk of potential hazards in your home. Also, remember when you are shopping for holiday lights and other electrical holiday decorations, always look for the UL Mark (the letters “UL” inside a circle).
When you bring your holiday tree home, cut one or two inches off the bottom and place the tree in water as soon as possible once getting it home.
Remember to keep your live tree base filled with water at all times. If the needles are not fresh, it can lead to a greater risk of fire.
Keep your tree a safe distance (at least three feet) from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other sources of heat.
Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
Carefully inspect each electrical decoration – new or old – before plugging it in. Cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a serious electric shock or start a fire.
Replace damaged items with new, UL-Listed decorations.
Be sure to use light strings that bear the UL Mark — the UL Mark on a product means that UL has tested samples of the product for risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards.
Do not connect more than three midget light string sets together. Light strings with screw-in bulbs should have a maximum of 50 bulbs connected together.
Turn off all electrical light strings and decorations in your home before leaving home or going to bed.
Cascia Talbert is a devout Catholic, mother of five children, health and fitness enthusiast and positive parenting supporter. She is also the founder of the award winning online health, fitness, parenting and Christian faith magazine for moms, the Healthy Moms Magazine. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, five children and one spoiled cat. Her hobbies include gardening, country music, running, and playing her flute.
Check out her first book, "Taking Care of your Family's Health and Well-being, Saints to Turn to and the Catholic Faith," available anywhere books are sold.