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Red Christmas ornaments hanging from a tree with lights on it

Its most everyone’s favorite time of year and you know what that entails. 32 million families all across the United States resurrect ornaments, twinkle lights and giant blow-up decorations from their attics and basements to celebrate the beloved month of December.

Holiday decorating can be nothing but fun, bringing a sparkle to people’s houses and warmth to the cold month of December. However, it is important to remember that twinkle lights, and blow up decorations pose a threat for causing an electrical fire. It is important to be smart this year when trying to provide joy for this holiday season. Be smart about decorating and use these basic tips to avoid a preventable tragedy from occurring. Whether you preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza ARS Restoration Specialists wants you to be safe and have a happy holiday season!

Lights and Decorations Safety Tips

  • When decorating with lights outside make sure the box is marked “outside lights”. Putting indoor only lights outside can cause electric shock and fire hazards when mixed with the brutal conditions throughout the winter.
  • If by some miracle your lights from the year before still work, make sure to check for broken light bulbs, torn wire or damage to the plugs. If you do see any damages to your strand of immortal lights from the year before its time to put those to rest. For your own safety purchase a new strand!
  • ALWAYS unplug the strand of lights before you change the bulb!
  • If you need to replace a bulb make sure the wattage rating of the replacement bulb matches that of the strand. A higher wattage can cause overheating which creates a fire risk.
  • Before you start decorating make sure you verify how many strands of lights it is safe to connect. On average its 3!
  • Be careful to not overload extension cords.

Multi-colored Christmas tree lights

Most importantly make sure to turn off Christmas decorations before going to bed or leaving the house!

The next most important part about holiday decorating for those of you who celebrate Christmas is buying your Christmas tree. If you have a fake tree feel free to skip over this section. Each year you unload a tree from a box. Assemble it, and throw on your decorations. DONE. But for a majority of the world we feel the need to bring a giant living plant into our homes for a few weeks and test its odds with indoor climate and see how long it can stay alive.

Buying a Christmas Tree

  • Before taking a tree home, make sure that its needles are fresh, green, and firmly attached to the branches. Bend the needles between your fingers if it breaks, then clearly that tree is dry and move on to the next.
  • A general rule about Christmas tree shopping. Trees with thicker branches take longer to try and are a better choice.
  • Yes, there are multiple types of Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Types

Fraser fir Christmas treeNoble Fir  Canaan Fir  Grand Fir  Balsam Fir  Douglas Fir  Fraser Fir

The last step to holiday decorating for most people is assembling the tree. Once you have gone through the proper steps to ensure your tree will not light up into flames as soon as you bring it inside your house you are ready to decorate. Before bringing it into the house, however, make sure you cut a few inches on the bottom of the tree. This will expose the fresh wood and it will allow for the tree to absorb more water and make it harder to catch fire. When it comes to watering your tree, the tree stand should have a capacity of 1 gallon. It can be hard to remember that you have to water your tree once you have brought it inside! But don’t forget trees are living things too and they get thirsty.

For more resources on how to safely decorate your home for the holidays, be sure to check out the National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA) guide to Winter/Holiday Safety, as well as Holiday Fire Safety suggestions from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).