Celebrating the holidays with lights, decorations and trees can instill a feeling of fun and energy into our homes, offices, and any place where people get together. But before you start decorating and putting up those lights, make sure that you are applying the same safety principles that you would to any activity that involves the potential for accidents. Consider all possible dangerous scenarios and eliminate or control as many as you can before you start decorating.
During the installation of lights or decorations, eliminate potential slip and trip hazards by keeping aisles and walkways free of clutter. Also be sure to secure all electrical cords and cables. Use the right cords for the right purpose, and turn everything off once you are finished. If people are climbing up and down ladders, you can eliminate fall hazards by using proper protection devices and equipment.
Finally, schedule the decorating for a time when your chosen space is comparatively free of employees, family members, or pedestrians. With that being said, be sure to allow yourself and whoever is helping enough time to complete the job, so that people don’t feel pressured to take shortcuts.
Here are our favourite holiday decorating safety tips:
- Use only non-combustible, flame retardant or flame resistant materials to decorate your home and/or tree.
- Never use candles to decorate trees.
- Keep candles away from decorations, trees and other combustible materials.
- Keep candles in a sturdy holder away from children, pets and combustible materials. Blow them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.
- To eliminate the risk created by an open candle flame, use battery-powered candles whenever possible, especially when using candles in a decorative setting.
- Purchase lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
- Indoor lights should only be used indoors; outdoor lights should only be used outdoors.
- Run outdoor light cords above the ground to keep them away from snow.
- Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings, and replace damaged items before plugging lights in.
- Be mindful of not damaging a cord’s wire insulation when mounting lights. It is safer to use plastic clips instead of nails.
- Keep pets and young children away from electrical decorations and light strings.
- Locate decorations in an area that will not block or interfere with an exit, or exit route.
- Space heaters need space — ensure at least one metre of clearance.
- Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never place furniture, rugs or other objects over electrical cords. Any damage the cord may sustain can go unnoticed.
- Never overload extension cords.
- Take down all decorations and bring outdoor electrical lights inside immediately after the holidays.