According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 250 Christmas tree fires every year due to trees that are too dry combined with electric tree lights. It’s easy to race outside and start decorating the house inside and out with lights, but if you aren’t taking a moment to consider how you’re going to preserve Christmas light safety through the holidays, you might be inadvertently be adding your home to a list you don’t want to be on.
That’s why SOS has created The 12 Days Of Christmas Light Safety, a daily safety reminder of one thing each day you can keep in mind so the bright lights don’t burn your plans. If you can remember these 12 ways to stay safe, this is one Christmas competition with the neighbors you’ll surely win. Guaranteed.
Day 1: Inspect Last Year’s Lights
Don’t assume that your lights from last year are good enough to plug in and go. If your cords or bulbs are damaged, you could receive a shock when plugging in the lights or even potentially start a fire.
Day 2: Don’t “Stuff” Your Extension Cord!
Remember the scene in “Christmas Vacation” when Clark is trying to turn on the Christmas lights for the entire outside of the house but he can’t tell which is the right switch because he has way too many sets of cords plugged into an outlet? Don’t become the version of that scene by plugging in a ton of Christmas lights into one extension cord. Check your wattage on the strand of lights against the wattage of your power strip. More than two or three sets of lights per extension cord isn’t a good idea for Christmas light safety.
Day 3: Turn The Lights Off When You Go To Bed
It can feel nice to wake up to a sea of Christmas lights or come home to a fully lit home, but we’re here to tell you – resist the temptation. Leaving sets of Christmas lights on without you attending them is inviting potential overheating. Turn them off or put them on a timer so that you can ensure Christmas light safety instead of Christmas light danger. Nobody needs to wake up or come home to a home on fire that started with the lights.
Day 4: Choose The Right Outlet For Outdoors
As you can guess, electricity and wet weather don’t mix. Good thing a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet is specially made for just these types of outdoor lights that are exposed to the elements of Mother Nature, minimizing the likelihood of a shock or short.
Day 5: There’s A Right (And Wrong) Way To Hang Lights
Too many people tend to use thumbtacks, nails or screws to keep their lights in place, but that’s a wrong move. Use insulated hooks and you’ll avoid piercing the cable within. Similarly, you won’t hang extension cords from the ground, but you should tape them down to prevent trips and falls.
Day 6: LED Lights Are The New (And Safer) Thing
Rather than traditional Christmas lights that have been the culprit behind many fires due to overheating, LED lights with epoxy lenses have no such problem. They stay cool for prolonged periods of time and can save energy while you’re at it.
Day 7: Make Hanging The Lights A 2-Person Job
“Oh, I can do it myself,” you say. “It’s not that high up. I’ll be fine.” Been there, heard that, seen many falls from a ladder as a result. Don’t be the next victim-in-waiting because you didn’t think you needed someone holding the ladder for you. A short fall can still cause serious injury (i.e. a fall into bushes, flowers with thorns or a twist of the ankle). One person leaning far enough over while hanging lights is all it takes to tip the ladder. Isn’t it smarter to be on the safe side and add another person to stabilize the ladder rather than spend your holidays nursing an injury?
Day 8: Select A Wooden Or Fiberglass Ladder
While we’re on the subject of ladders, there are a surprising number of people who race up a metal ladder with Christmas lights, eager to decorate and totally unaware of the electric shock they’re opening themselves up to. Buy a wooden or fiberglass ladder to hang your lights with confidence, not instant regret.
Day 9: A Hydrated Tree Is A Happy Tree
More specifically, it’s a safe tree that doesn’t catch fire due to being overly dry. So be sure to water your tree on a regular basis if it’s a real tree to prevent it from becoming flammable.
Day 10: Come To Think Of It, Does It Have To Be A Real Tree?
We understand it from a tradition standpoint and perhaps you can’t part with the idea of doing anything but a real tree. But the fact remains that an artificial tree won’t have the issue of drying out and therefore won’t pose a hazard as a flammable source. You can leave the house with confidence without wondering if you watered the tree in the last couple of days. Low on maintenance, high on safety.
Day 11: Store Your Lights Wisely
If you’re going to enjoy your Christmas lights for multiple years beyond this one, one of the best ways of ensuring you do so is to store your lights in a container that’s tightly sealed to keep out moisture (i.e. water damage) or animals that might chew on the cords.
Day 12: Don’t Run Lights Through Doors Or Windows
What’s the harm in running an extension cord through windows or doors? After all, it’s not like everybody has an outdoor outlet. Well, the truth is that nobody should be trying to maneuver their Christmas lights out the door or through the window if they don’t have outdoor outlets. Why? There’s enough pressure applied to keep the light strand in place that it could break or become frayed, of which a fire or electrical shock can’t be far behind.
If a loved one has suddenly been injured in an electrical accident, it’s vital that you act with precision in just the next few minutes that follow. That state of preparedness is hard to come by – unless you enroll in SOS Technologies’ training course on-site for CPR administration and AED administration.
Accidents happen when families least expect them, especially when they’re gathered for the holidays. So sign your team up for this invaluable training from SOS with one of our safety consultants today at 888.705.6100.