Holiday decorations may pose safety hazards for families
Published on 18 December 2008
Festive lights, ornamented trees, candles and other in-home decorations are not the only indicators that the holidays are upon us.
Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that nearly 13,000 people visit the emergency room each year with holiday decorating-related injuries, meaning many families find that bruises, burns and damaged homes are also unfortunate, but preventable, indicators.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), December and January are the peak months for the overall number of home fires, deaths and injuries. Families looking to spread holiday cheer should also be aware that each year an average of 240 home fires start with Christmas trees and an additional 1,300 begin with various other seasonal decorations.
With more home fires occurring during the holiday season than any other time of year, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), one of the world’s leading product safety organizations, and the NFPA, an authority on fire and life safety, have teamed up to help families prevent unnecessary fire and safety hazards with “TLC” – Tree, Light and Candle – safety.
“By following the simple guidelines of ‘TLC’ safety, your family’s holiday season will remain memorable for the right reasons,” said John Drengenberg, Manager of Consumer Affairs for Underwriters Laboratories.
“T” is for Tree
Families are encouraged to routinely examine decorations, whether new or old. Holiday lights, extension cords and other electrical items may pose potential safety hazards, especially if they are counterfeit or do not legitimately bear a recognized safety certification mark, such as the UL Mark (the letters “UL” inside a circle).
An accredited safety certification mark is a great way to make sure your decorative item has been tested to UL requirements that help avoid foreseeable safety risks.
“C” is for Candle
Candles in particular were responsible for 71 percent of December home fires that began as a result of improper decorating practices.
“While candles present the most significant fire hazard during the holiday months, all decorations should be inspected for safety,” said Drengenberg. “By keeping safety top of mind, you and your loved ones can enjoy a safer holiday season.”
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