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Fire Restoration November 15, 2018

How to Prevent Holiday Lights Fires and Accidents

The holiday season couldn’t be complete without holiday lights, but they should be used with caution. Holiday lights pose a risk of fire and other accidents if not used safely. Here are key holiday lights safety tips every homeowner should follow before decking the halls.

Christmas Trees

  • Only Christmas tree lights that are rated for indoor use and tested for safety should be used. The lights must have the label of an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
  • Electric lights should never be put on metallic Christmas trees to avoid the risk of electric shock.
  • Each set of lights should be checked for worn or broken cords, broken or cracked sockets, and loose bulb connections. Damaged lights must be replaced.
  • No more than three standard-size sets of lights should be connected into an extension cord. Instead of overloading electrical outlets or extension cords, lights should be plugged into different circuits around the home.
  • Colour changing spotlights must not be fastened onto metallic trees. They should be used above or beside the tree to prevent tree branches from becoming charged with electricity from faulty lights.
  • All Christmas lights and decorations have to be turned off when going to bed or leaving home.
  • To keep pets safe, the electric cords and tree lights should be protected so that pets can’t chew them and get shocked. Here are more pet fire safety tips.

Outdoor Lights

  • Outdoor lights must be rated for exterior use by an independent testing laboratory. Exterior lights and extension cords used outdoors need to be weather-resistant.
  • Exterior lights should be fastened securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage. However, light strings should not be attached with nails or staples, as these can cut through the wire insulation and start a fire. Only UL-approved hangers should be used.
  • Outdoor lights should be taken down within 90 days to prevent hazards from weather damage or critters chewing on them.
  • The lights need to be stored safely after taking them down. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. They’re also a pain to untangle! The strings can be wrapped around a piece of cardboard, covered in paper or fabric, and then stored in a sturdy container until next year.

Candles

  • Real candles should never be used to decorate a tree. Battery-operated, flameless LED candles can be used instead.
  • If real candles are used, here are tips to use candles safely.
  • Only non-flammable candle holders must be used.
  • Candles have to be placed where they can’t be knocked down or blown over.
  • Candles should be kept away from any flammable objects like decorations or drapes.
  • It’s never a good idea to burn candles near trees or greenery.
  • Burning candles must always be kept within sight.
  • All candles should be extinguished before going to bed, leaving the room or leaving the home.

For more holiday safety tips, here are holiday safety guidelines for homeowners and tips for hosting a safe party during the holidays. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.

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