Christmas tree firesThe holidays are here and we urge you to adhere to safe practices as you celebrate the season.  We still love the smell and ambiance of a real Christmas tree and we especially love lighting the Christmas tree. But lighting a real tree brings with it problems which could cause fire hazards. Statistics tell us that every year people are killed from decoration related fires and also from decorative candles placed in unsafe locations in the home.  Not following good safety procedure can lead to a disaster.  This post is all about Christmas tree safety.   Here are a few safety tips:

  • Make sure the “real” tree you choose is a fresh tree.
  • When cutting the tree, make a fresh cut at the bottom of the trunk.
  • Place the tree in a  container with water and hydrate the tree every day.
  • Keep the tree away from heat sources that could dry the tree out.
  • When setting up the tree keep it away from space heaters or anything flammable.
  • Check the lights carefully for frayed wires and loose sockets.
  • Throw the tree out immediately following the holiday (do not keep it).

Experience and statistics prove that one of every four home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.  These fires are not common in 2018 as they were in the past as more and more of us are choosing artificial tree options.  However when a fire does occur from a Christmas tree, it is most likely to be serious. One of every 32 home Christmas tree fires result in death.  A major cause of  Christmas tree fires is from a heat source which was too close to the tree.

Removing the Christmas tree promptly after the holiday:

There are three days per year that are most likely to experience a holiday fire.  Those days are Christmas, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  For safety sake please take the tree down sooner rather than later to avoid this danger.  Although most people tend to leave the tree up through New Year’s Day we are suggesting you remove the tree the day following Christmas day.  The longer you leave a “real” Christmas tree up in your home the more danger there will be.

Using and Storing the holiday lights:

Using and storing Xmas lightsUsing and storing holiday lights is a must for your safety.   The holiday lights are beautiful and are somewhat safer than candles.  However, using that much electricity could cause problems if the lights are not used and stored away safely.  The safest lighting solution at the holidays is to use LED lighting.  LED lights do not normally get very hot.  But incandescent lights do get hot enough to burn or set on fire, other decorations.  The cords can easily fray which can lead to an electrical short in the wires.  Another hazard at the holidays is when a ladder is used to install the Christmas lights.  This can lead to falls and injuries.

Here are a few suggestions for lighting safety:

  • Choose Christmas lights which have been already tested and considered safe by a testing lab.
  • We suggest UL or ETL lighting options
  • LED lights use less energy and give off less heat
  • Choose cooler-burning smaller lights for best safety
  • Make sure all lights have fuses in the plugs
  • Check all lights used before and throw out old damaged lights
  • Return any set which comes with cracked or broken sockets
  • Return any sets which have frayed or bare wires or loose connections
  • Replace all burned out lights promptly with new bulbs
  • Never use Christmas lights on a metal tree. This type of tree can also short out and cause a fire.

Outdoor lighting safetyOutdoor Christmas lighting suggestions:

Using outdoor lighting can be safe once you follow some good safety tips.  Outdoor electrical decorations must be plugged into a ground-fault circuit breaker (GFCI).  Portable units for outdoor use are for sale at most home improvement stores.  If you wish, you can also have an electrician install this outdoor safety feature for future use.  Contact our professionals at Sanford Electric if you have a question or concern we can help you with.  We are always happy to speak to our users about any electrical issues which could arise.

Remember to use all extension cords properly.  Outdoor cords can be used indoors or outdoors.  However, never use indoor cords for outdoor use.  Doing this could overload the system and cause a fire.

Stay clear of any power lines  or feeder lines that go from the electrical pole to the house as you install your outdoor lights.  Always secure outdoor lights with insulated holders (do not use tacks or nails).  Never run strings of Christmas lights through hooks.  Turn off all outdoor lights when you go to bed.  Be safe, not sorry and follow good safety rules for the holiday.

We wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season.  Hurry back for more news from Sanford Electric.

Staff Writer.

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