CPSC Offers Safe Holiday Tips

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced 10 tips to help keep your home <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/accidents">fire and injury free this holiday season.

The CPSC is urging consumers to make safety a factor in holiday decorating, citing careful candle placement and checking the warning label on the holiday lights

Every year during the two months surrounding the holiday season, over 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating, said the agency. Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires leading to about 15 deaths and $13 million dollars in property damage. Candle-related fires lead the list of hazards averaging more than 12,000 a year, resulting in 150 deaths and $393 million in property damage, the CPSC added.

“Holiday decorating-related fires and injuries most often involve defective holiday lights, unattended candles and dried-out Christmas trees,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “We are providing this list of 10 simple safety steps to help keep your holiday home safe.”

Trees and Decorations

•When purchasing an artificial tree, DO look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it indicates the tree is more resistant to catching fire.
•When purchasing a live tree, DO check for freshness. A fresh tree is green and needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin; when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
•When setting up a tree at home, DO place it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators. Heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, so ensure water levels are monitored and that the stand is always filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.
•In homes with small children, DO take special care to avoid sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations; keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces; and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.

Lights
•Indoors or outside, DO use only lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL/ITSNA.
•Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets. DON’T use electric lights on a metallic tree.
•If using an extension cord, DO make sure it is rated for the intended use.
•When using lights outdoors, DO check labels to ensure the lights are certified for outdoor use and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.

Candles

•Keep burning candles within sight. DO extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving the room or house.
•DO keep lighted candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains, and furniture.

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