The holidays are in full swing here in Southern California. That means the Christmas trees are up, the menorahs are out, and the wreaths are hung. A few strings of sparkly lights probably adorn your mantles and windows too.
But as we deck the halls this holiday season, it’s important for property owners AND tenants to be mindful of the dangers that come with holiday lights, candles and other indoor decorations. Unfortunately, these popular holiday decor items can cause holiday fires.
Did you know what poses the greatest fire danger during the holidays?
Dry Christmas trees and lit candles!
Christmas Tree Fires
Christmas tree fires are not all that common but they do happen and can spread quickly. An average of 230 home structure blazes resulting from Christmas tree fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year. Electrical problems cause one of every three Christmas tree fires, and one in every five is the result of the tree being too close to a heat source.
Here’s a telling video shows how quickly a dry tree can go up in flames − the tree on the left is dry compared to the tree on the right that has been properly hydrated.
Other decorations and carelessness in decking the halls can contribute to holiday fires and potentially create a total loss for the property.
10 Tips to Safely Enjoy the Holidays
Here are some other holiday safety tips that property owners, managers, and tenants should know to ensure a safe holiday season.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. (If the bulb lights are becoming too much hassle, check out the new LED strands. They come in a variety of colors and styles, and because they burn cooler, your electric bill won’t take a hit.)
- Artificial trees should be labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use candles to decorate the tree. Artificial candles are an available and safer alternative.
- After the holidays, get rid of live decorations. Dried-out trees, wreaths, and garlands are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home, garage, storage building, or placed outside on the property.
- Make sure the tree and other holiday decorations are not blocking an exit, and that they are at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or, run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
- Have an operable fire extinguisher readily available.
All of us at APG Properties wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. We’ll see you in 2019!