Decorate Safely For The Merriest Christmas

family reading a book near a Christmas treeNow that the turkey naps are over and we’ve recovered from some of the gift shopping, it’s time to settle into the comforts of Christmas with music, baking, and decorating. With everyone diving into the ornaments, stockings, and lights, we need to remember some important safety tips to keep the holidays happy and prevent house fires.Some people enjoy natural trees in the home while others enjoy the ease of keeping and storing an artificial tree. Here are some guidelines for each:

Natural Trees

  • Cut 2” off trunk and place in sturdy, water-holding stand
  • Keep well-watered so it doesn’t dry out - dry branches are more flammable and can even catch fire from the heat of light bulbs.

Artificial Trees

  • Make sure it has been tested and labeled as fire resistant (Note: No tree is completely fire resistant, be sure to follow all safety precautions)
  • Do not use more than three sets of lights per extension cord
In addition to properly caring for Christmas trees and keeping them fire free, there are some other important things to keep in mind this season:
  • Keep lit candles away from trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, and any other flammable items and/or decorations.
  • Keep burning candles in sight, and make sure to extinguish all candles before going to bed
  • When using lights indoor or outside, only use lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory
  • Check all decorations (new or old) for broken, cracked, frayed, or bare wires, as well as loose connections - throw out all damaged items
While these tips should help you have a safe and Merry Christmas, remember to reach out to the American Red Cross NW Florida Chapter to find community classes, emergency plans, or to request a smoke alarm installation. Complete is an official partner of the American Red Cross, serving Northwest Florida together (counties – Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington).  We’re here to help you have safe, happy holidays!

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