Christmas decorating guide.

December 18, 2015

erin_doan_agency 031514Good Neighbor Tips. A blog by Erin Doan, Erin Doan State Farm Insurance, Scottville;


‘Tis the season to trim the tree — and watch the ladder step while you’re at it. Holiday decorating can be hazardous if you’re not careful. Help keep it fun and festive with these holiday safety tips:

Electrical Safety

  • Only make purchases from trusted retailers to avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit products.
  • Be sure to buy decorations according to your intended use — outdoors or indoors.
  • Always buy electrical equipment that displays a label indicating it has undergone independent testing by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • Don’t use lights without fused plugs.
  • Inspect lights for broken sockets, frayed wires and loose connections. Dispose of any damaged sets.
  • Never connect more than three strands of lights together.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices, as they can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Always plug outdoor electrical decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Turn off all electrical decorations when you leave the house or go to sleep.

Ladder Safety

  • Never use furniture as a ladder.
  • Always inspect and clean your ladder before climbing onto it.
  • Follow the 1-to-4 rule for extension ladders: For every four feet the ladder rises, move the base out one foot from the structure.
  • Always keep three points of contact on the ladder: two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • Keep your hips between the side rails. Climb down and move the ladder if you can’t reach an area.

Fire Safety

  • Avoid using candles when possible, and consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • If you do use candles, keep them at least 12 inches from flammable material.
  • Only use fire-resistant artificial trees.
  • Make sure live trees have green pine needles that don’t fall off easily or break when bent, and look for sticky resin on the trunk.
  • Never place a tree by a fireplace, radiator or other heat source.
  • Always use noncombustible or flame-resistant tree decorations.
  • Avoid decorating the mantel with stockings, greenery or other flammable decorations if you use your fireplace frequently.

For more information on how to have a safe holiday season and how to avoid holiday decorating hazards, visit the State Farm Learning Center.

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