‘Tis the season to hang up lights and decorations in an attempt to spread joy, or at least one-up your neighbor across the street. Though a holiday display of lights brings ample cheer, take a few precautions to ensure they’re not also bringing any fire hazards or other security threats into the home.
Inspect your lights for distressed cords or cracked bulbs. Replace anything that’s damaged and buy cords that have been inspected by an independent third-party, which should be listed on the packaging. Don’t hang any lights near flammable objects, either. If a spark goes off, it could start an ignition.
The holiday season brings more candles into the picture, too. You may be lighting a Hanukkah menorah, or perhaps you’re leaving a candle on the table so Santa can eat his milk and cookies while reading the Sunday paper. In 44% of fires, the flame is ignited by decorations being too close to a heat source, like candles or equipment.
Never leave an open flame unattended, and if you’re using candles for decor, consider alternative options, such as electric candles or string lights. Check that your fire extinguisher hasn’t expired and it’s easily accessible if the worst occurs.
Keep the house well-lit throughout the holiday season, whether you’re inside or not. If you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time, consider setting your lights on a timer. That way, a potential intruder will think you’re home and will skip by your house to look for a more inviting target.