Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Your holiday decorations may already be in place, but there's still time to give them a thorough safety inspection before you host big gatherings of family and friends. It only takes a few minutes to prevent an unfortunate accident

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Check electrical components for damage. If you find any exposed or frayed wires, scorch marks or melted plastic on electric lights or inflatables, you should unplug and dispose of them right away. It may make you feel like the Grinch, but it's just not worth risking electrical shock or fire.
  • Consider upgrading the antiques.Some holiday decorations may be considered heirlooms in your family, and as such, they may be decades old. The vintage nature of classic incandescent lights or bubble lights are part of their charm, but these older lights are more likely to pose a fire risk. Modern LED lights produce virtually no heat, making them considerably safer. It may be time to finally retire the old lights and start a new tradition.
  • Ensure outdoor decorations are properly rated. Not all electric decorations and extension cords are designed for outdoor use. On strings of lights, look for a stamp on the plug or a small silver tag with the letters "UL", which stands for Underwriters Laboratories. On outdoor lights, the "UL" trademark will be red, or the tag will otherwise specify that they're for outdoor use. On extension cords and splitters, look for the letter "W" stamped on the plug to indicate outdoor use.
  • Keep the tree watered.If you have a natural Christmas tree, check the water pan daily and keep it topped off. You should also make sure the pan is clear of any electrical cords or lights. A thirsty tree is a dry tree, which is a fire hazard.
  • Keep walkways clear.Electrical cords that cross sidewalks, driveways or indoor walking paths pose a tripping hazard. What's more, foot traffic can damage some light-duty cords, creating additional risks of shock or fire. If you absolutely must run cords in these areas, use cord protectors that cover the cords with rubber or silicone ramps.

You can find more tips on caring for your home in our Learning Center.