While many people think of traditional string lights for Christmas, there is actually an array of Christmas lighting choices. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas lights and other holiday lighting with line voltage are responsible for an average of 160 home structure fires each year. These fires cause an average of nine deaths, 13 injuries, and $9 million in direct property damage. Two thirds of these fires were the result of electrical failures or malfunctions.
Use these Christmas Lights Safety Tips to keep your home and family safe this holiday season:
- Choose LED lights. They are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, making them much more durable. They are also cool to the touch which shows higher energy-efficiency compared to incandescent bulbs.
- When hanging outdoor Christmas lights, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder-See ladder safety tips below.
- Turn off all indoor and outdoor Christmas lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Never drape anything over a light bulb.
Avoid using candles when possible. Choose battery-operated candles instead of traditional candles. Know that 12 percent of home candle fires occur in December; 1.5 times the monthly average.
- Never put lit candles on a Christmas tree.
- Place candles away from flammable materials and busy walkways.
- Never leave an open flame unattended.
- Keep burning candles within sight; extinguish all candles before you leave the room or go to bed.
- Place lighted candles away from flammable material and areas where they might be knocked over.
Ladder Safety for Hanging Christmas Lights
- Choose the right ladder for the job. A step ladder is meant for washing windows and other jobs at low or medium heights. An extension ladder may be needed to hang lights high up on your roof line.
- Before use, inspect the ladder for loose screws, hinges, or rungs. Clean off accumulated mud, dirt or liquids.
- Before you climb a ladder, make sure all ladder locks and safety braces are in place.
- Never place a ladder on ground or flooring that is uneven, soft, or wet; choose a firm surface.
- When working on a ladder, do not lean so far that your bellybutton has gone beyond the edge of the ladder. Climb down the ladder and reposition it closer to your work area if necessary.
- Never climb a ladder without a spotter.
- Never sit or stand on the top of a step ladder or pail shelf as these areas weren’t designed to hold heavy weights.
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