Gwinnett County officials are urging safety in the home this holiday season.
“Holiday decorations are a joy for many during the season, but it’s crucial to be aware of potential fire hazards. Every year during the holiday season, fires injure more than 2,600 people and cause millions of dollars in property damage. No matter your décor choices, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions,” officials note in a press release, adding the following tips that will help make the holiday season a safe and enjoyable time for the whole family.
- Maintain your holiday lights
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets
- Never leave holiday lights on unattended
- Water your live tree and check for freshness daily
- Use nonflammable decorations
- Maintain your holiday lights: Inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinks or wear before they are used.
- Do not overload electrical outlets: Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions specifically indicate it is safe to connect more. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Periodically check the wires— they should not be warm to the touch.
- Do not leave holiday lights on when unattended: Never leave holiday decorations on unattended. When leaving the house, be sure to turn the Christmas tree off and blow out holiday candles.
- Use only nonflammable decorations: All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace; burning wrapping paper can produce toxic gases.
- Choose the right artificial tree: If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
- Use caution with lit candles: One-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. Be sure candles are in stable holders and cannot be easily knocked over.
- Don’t leave candles unattended: Never leave the house with candles burning. Blow out candles before you leave a room and make sure they’re extinguished.
- Never put lit candles on a tree: Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame—candles, lighters, or matches.
Finally, as in every season, have a working smoke alarm and portable fire extinguisher (ABC) on every level of the home and develop a home escape plan. Practice fire drills with the entire family.