Today I have Christmas safety tips for homeowners and tenants. I originally published this article more than 5 years ago, but the information is still as relevant today as it was then. I like to remind everyone about these safety tips at this time of each year.
Along with the beauty of all those holiday decorations and roaring fires in the fireplace, there are also many hazards and dangers to be aware of.
This is also valuable information for anyone that has tenants. It’s the perfect time of the year to pass these reminders on so they can help keep YOUR property and their home safe during the holidays.
The holidays should be a magical time for adults and children alike children. Yet each year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 8700 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts and shocks, related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees.
Why not put together a simple newsletter of Christmas safety tips for your tenants and offer an incentive for getting the rent in before the first of January? Here are some sound tips for keeping Christmas safe.
This Video Show Just How Fast a Fire Can Get out of Control
This YouTube video shows you just how quickly holiday cheer can turn into disaster. (This will direct you to YouTube, but it's definitely worth the watch).
Would You Rather Listen?
8 Tips for Christmas Tree Safety
When talking about Christmas safety tips, the Christmas tree is the number one thing we think of. Here are 8 tips for you.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Cut a few inches off the trunk of your tree to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help to keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- Use only noncombustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. Always use nonflammable holders and place candles out of children’s reach.
- Take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food, which may tempt a child to eat them.
- Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial-snow sprays.
Bonus Tip: You can get poison ivy and poison oak from Christmas trees. The oil remains on the tree even after it's cut.
9 Bright Ideas for Lights
Have you given any thought to the liability tenants may be unknowingly be causing you? I have more Christmas Safety Tips that are for both homeowners and tenants.
- Indoors or outside, always use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory that indicates conformance with safety standards.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Lights should be replaced every 3 years.
- Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
- Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use insulated staples to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks. Or run strings of lights through hooks (available at hardware stores).
- Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
- Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
- Christmas lights should be replaced every 3 years.
3 Christmas Safety Tips When Using Your Fireplace
If you have rental property with a fireplace, these tips are good for tenants too.
- Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.
- Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
- Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.
There you have it. My list of Christmas safety tips for homeowners and landlords. Look for fireplace and chimney tips coming soon.
**This list of Christmas safety tips for homeowners and tenants was provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Reprinted from December 8. 2011
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