Plugging in Holiday Cheer Safely


Now that the outdoor decorations are in place, let’s look at a few indoor safety tips.

shutterstock_45527932By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the “Fire Resistant” label.

When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. 

When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Do not block doorways. Use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. 

Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. 

In homes with small children, take special care to avoid sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them. Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace.

Happy Holidays and be safe!

The author Sam DiGiovanna lives in Aliso Viejo and works for Glendale’s fire academy.