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Make it a Season of Safety - Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Decorating Tips
Even in the midst of holiday celebrating, safety should come first. No matter what your decorating style, be sure to keep safety first this holiday season, particularly when choosing outdoor lighting.
If you are placing a Christmas tree on a patio, near an outdoor kitchen or on a patio, use the same guideline you would use inside the home. Place the tree away from bar-b-que pits, fire pits and other heat sources. Don't block doorways. Be sure to use guy-wires to secure a large tree to a fence or ceiling.
Use only lights that have been tested by an independent laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets and purchase new. Lights are very inexpensive these days and it is just not worth the risk to your home to use damaged Christmas lights.
Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, walls, fences or other firm support to protect them from wind and snow damage. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord, unless you are using the new lights that specify more strands per cord. Most exterior extension cords have three-prong (grounded) male and female plugs. Do not use any cord if the grounding leg has been removed or damaged. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards.
Never try to force a three-prong male plug into a two-prong extension cord or wall outlet. To properly adapt a three-prong cord to a two-prong outlet, use a UL-approved adapter plug with an attached ground wire. Be sure that the ground wire is connected to a proper ground source, such as a cold water pipe or a grounding rod driven into the ground.
Always use the proper step stool or latter to reach high places. Do not hang popcorn chains or candy canes on trees if there are small children in the home. They may think that other tree ornaments are also edible.
Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations (inside the home and out!) when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire. Never use electric lights on a metallic Christmas tree. The tree could become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
If using outdoor spotlights, place these above or beside the tree. Never fasten the lights to the tree.
Keep bubbling lights away from small children. The bright colors and bubbling movement can tempt curious children to break candle-shaped glass and attempt the drink the pretty liquid which contains hazardous chemicals.
Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use non-flammable candle holders. Also keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper. Outdoor, be sure to place candles in heavy weighted, non flammable holders where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
Use care with fire salts which produce lovely colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals which can cause vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
Please have an enjoyable and safe Holiday season.
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