Decking the Halls: Lighting Safety

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ChecktheHalls

For many families, decorating a carefully selected tree with favorite ornaments or putting up colorful lights for the holiday season is a celebrated annual tradition filled with joyful memories.  While we hope you will cherish this special time,  Goldman and Daszkal, P.A. also wants you to be aware of potential lighting safety risks associated with these tasks.

Climbing ladders to adorn your house with holiday lights, setting candles aglow near the tree, and stringing older lights can all present potential hazards.  Since we want you and your loved ones to continue enjoying these beautiful holiday traditions, we pulled together a few important safety tips so you can reduce your risk of injury while enjoying the lights of the holidays.

Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

According to a 2013 Electric Safety Foundation International (ESFI) survey, more than 2/3 of consumers use electric lighting in their holiday decorations inside their home and nearly 50% use some type of electric decorations outside their homes.[1]  These decorations add a special touch of holiday spirit, but they also increase the risk of electrical injuries and fires if not used properly.  The CPSC estimates that over 12,000 people end up in the ER each year due to holiday decorating-related injuries including falls, shocks, and burns.  Learn how to protect you and your loved ones.  Follow these important tips[2] for a safer holiday:

Lights

  • Before stringing lights, carefully inspect and remove any light strings with loose-fitting connections, frayed wires or broken sockets.
  • Damaged lights should be replaced promptly with manufacturer-specified parts. Read the instructions and use the correct bulb wattage to avoid creating a fire hazard.   If bulbs need to be replaced, unplug entire string of lights before replacing bulbs. Failing to replace bulbs quickly can cause the whole string of lights to overheat.
  • Ensure that all outdoor lighting and extension cords are weather resistant and UL-rated for exterior use.
  • Exterior lights should only be used outdoors for 90 days; avoid using indoors as they can overheat.
  • Never allow extension cords to be placed in or near water, even if they are indicated for outdoor use.
  • Carefully store lights by coiling light strings around something hard (like cardboard), wrapping in a cloth for protection, and storing in a sturdy container.
  • When using a ladder, carefully follow instructions and warning labels.
  • Turn off lights and all electric decorations before going to bed and before leaving home.

Trees

  • Steer clear of trees or wreaths with brown needles. Buy fresh, green trees and wreaths to avoid the risk of fire.  Water fresh trees regularly to keep them healthy and reduce fire risk.
  • Use only flame retardant or fire resistant artificial trees.
  • Always keep your tree (fresh or artificial) at least 3-4 feet from the fireplace or heaters.
  • Use UL-approved hanging devices to hang light strings. Avoid using nails or staples to hang light strings as they may slice through wire and create a fire hazard.

Candles

  • Test all smoke detectors to be sure they are in proper working order.
  • Never use candles on or near a tree. Place candles on a safe, stable surface where they won’t be blown or toppled over.
  • Keep candles away from decorations, gifts, furniture and curtains.
  • Keep an eye on burning candles and extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the room.

Pass along these important holiday tips to your friends and family members! 

Goldman & Daszkal, P.A.

Since 1990, Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. has provided reputable legal representation to people throughout Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.  The firm has helped thousands of individuals recover compensation from motor vehicle and boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, product defect and liability cases, pharmacy errors, and negligent security cases to cover medical expenses, pay bills, take care of their families, and return to work.  Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. can help you get the relief you need to start living your life again after a serious injury.  For a free and confidential consultation, contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A., at (954) 428-9333.

[1] ESFI http://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-decorating-safety-342

[2] Adapted from ESFI http://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-decorating-safety-342 and CPSC http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2014/CPSC-Estimates-More-Than-15000-Holiday-Decorating-Injuries-During-November-and-December/

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