Many people think that other products used during the holiday season cause poisoning, but they do not. These include angel hair, candles, Christmas cactus, Christmas trees and evergreens, garland, tinsel, icicles and snow spray or flock.
When buying an artificial tree, look for a “Fire Resistant” label. When buying a live tree, check for freshness − make sure the needles are soft and don’t fall off. Live trees need plenty of water so check your tree’s water level daily. Dry trees can burn in seconds! Do not block your home’s exit with the tree. Remove live trees from your home as soon as possible. Many tree fires occur on or after New Year’s Day.
Lights − Indoor and Outdoor
Check each set of lights for damaged sockets or wires and throw away any bad strands. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the maximum number of light sets that can be connected together. Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Use only light sets and extension cords marked “for outdoor use” outside your home.
Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Never use lighted candles on or near a tree or other evergreens. Keep children and pets in mind when placing decorations on a tree. Make sure easy-to-break ornaments are out of reach.
“Think big” when choosing toys for small children −small parts could be a choking hazard. Make sure gifts are appropriate for the child’s age. “Think easy” when choosing a gift for someone who may have arthritis or some other physical challenge. Consider giving the gift of safety − smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.
Fireplaces and Heaters
Before starting a fire in a fireplace, remove all decorations (including stockings) and be sure the flue is open. Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace − it can burn very fast and throw off sparks. Always place a screen in front of the fireplace.
When plugging in electric heaters, make sure the outlet was designed to handle the load. When using kerosene heaters, make sure you use the correct fuel. Using the wrong fuel can cause a fire or even an explosion.
Check the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector monthly. Change the batteries as instructed by the manufacturer. Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Develop a fire escape plan and practice the plan with your family.