12/03/12 Holiday lights, Christmas trees, candles and tinsel are on the minds of many Hoosiers as holiday decorating commences. With mild temperatures expected this weekend, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) wants to remind those decorating to follow simple measures in celebrating a safe and happy holiday season.
The cooler months, notably December and January, are the most common times for home fires, deaths and injuries. Many of these fires are started by holiday lights, Christmas trees, unattended candles and improperly maintained alternative heating units.
“With home fires occurring most often during the holiday season, it’s important for Hoosiers to be extra careful with decorations,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Light and Decorating Safety:
- Remember to keep your tree base filled with water at all times and away from heat sources.
- Routinely examine decorations, whether new or old for potential safety hazards.
- Turn off all electrical light strings and decorations in your home before leaving or going to bed.
- Only use lights and power strips/grounded extension cords designed for outdoor use.
- Lights should be tested by a reputable testing lab such as UL or ETL
- Try to use the cooler-burning mini Christmas lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older, larger style burns hotter.
- Do not connect more than three light strings together.
- Never leave a room where candles are lit.
- Never place decorations near an open flame.
- Keep candles out of the reach and path of children and pets.
Hanging decorations or lights from a ladder also calls for extra precautions as each year thousands of people flood emergency rooms with injuries due to ladder climbing.
“If you are hanging lights or decorations, make sure you follow safety procedures to avoid injury. If you feel that using a ladder is too risky, call a professional to help,” said IDHS EMS Certifications Branch Chief Rick Archer.
- Stay clear of power and feeder lines when hanging lights outdoors.
- Always have someone else working with you when hanging Christmas lights or decorations from a ladder or roof.
- Make sure the ladder is on a secure and level footing before climbing.
- Space the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet it reaches up.
- Carry a cell phone in case of an accident.
- Do not stand on the top two rungs of an extension ladder or the top of a step ladder.
For more information about safety this holiday season, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.
Leadership for a Safe and Secure Indiana