By Samantha Pudelski, American Red Cross Volunteer
December 4, 2019- As we enter the holiday season here in Northeast Ohio, many will be trimming trees and putting up decorations. As you hang your stockings with care, make sure to keep in mind these holiday decorating safety tips from the American Red Cross.
- Candles: Use battery-operated candles whenever you can. If you do use candles, never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach from children and pets.
- Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken.
- Don’t string too many strands of lights together—no more than three per extension cord.
- Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
- Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees.
- Outside Decorations: Make sure all decorations hung outside are marked for outdoor use. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or a fire hazard.
- Trees: If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and water it often to keep it from drying out. Bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off. Keep the tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat.
- Indoor Decorations:
- If using older decorations, check their labels. Some older tinsel is lead-based.
- If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
- If hanging stockings on the fireplace mantel, don’t light the fireplace.
- Ladders: Make sure to have a good, stable placement of the ladder before use. Wear shoes that allow for good traction.
Home Fire Campaigns Saves Lives
Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S. To prevent fire tragedies, the Red Cross works with community partners to install free smoke alarms and help families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least 658 lives nationwide since launching in October 2014. In Northeast Ohio, Red Cross volunteers and partners have:
- Installed 62,656 smoke alarms.
- Reached 16,273 youth through preparedness programs.
- Made 22,308 households safer from the threat of home fires.
You can help save lives by making a financial donation to support our mission, registering to become a volunteer or by taking steps to protect your family from home fires. Visit redcross.org to learn more.