Holiday Decorating Safety

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) reports holiday fires injure 2,600 people and cause more than $930 million in damages each year. To help insure that everyone has a safe and happy holiday, the Broward Sheriff's Office suggests reviewing the following list of safety tips:

  • Choose a freshly cut tree with green, hard to pull back needles, which means the tree is freshly cut. Needles that fall off easily indicate the tree is probably dried out and thus poses a fire hazard.
  • Do not position the tree near a heat source. A burning live tree can quickly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.
  • Always keep the tree stand filled with water.
  • Choose artificial trees and other decorations made of flame-resistant or non-combustible materials.
  • Place candles away from any flammable materials and out of reach of small children.
  • Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing and maintaining lights.
  • Inspect strands of lights and replace damaged parts before using lights. Always unplug lights before replacing blown out bulbs or fuses.
  • Don't overload extension cords and don't mount lights with clips or nails in a manner that will damage the cord's wire insulation.
  • Never leave lights on or candles burning, especially around small children and pets.
  • Remember to extinguish candles and fires and turn off all light strings and other decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • At the end of the holidays, when disposing of your tree, do not burn it. Dispose of your tree through a community recycling or pick-up service.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working and replace old batteries. Smoke alarms should be installed on every floor of home and checked monthly.
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