"With the onset of post-holiday activity, it's important to keep safety at top of mind. That's the message from the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories, an independent safety testing organization, who have joined together to remind consumers to practice safety as they put away holiday decorations. According to the NFPA, 13 percent of the home fires attributed to Christmas trees have occurred in January. The association recommends consumers remove real trees from their home and properly dispose of them once their holiday celebration ends.
"Christmas trees--real or artificial--can be a significant fuel source if a fire occurs in your home," said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of communications. "Even a well-watered tree should be taken down after four weeks. If you decorated your real tree right after Thanksgiving, it should be discarded the week after Christmas."
Christmas trees are not the only holiday decorations that need prompt attention after the holidays. All electric decorations should also be taken down and put away. “Holiday lights are considered seasonal and should not be up longer than 90 days,” said John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager for UL. “If you leave decorations out any longer, they will be more prone to damage, which could cause an electrical shock or fire hazard.”
As you unplug and store holiday decorations, the NFPA and UL remind you that practicing safety now can keep decorations in working condition and prevent potential hazards from occurring next year. Following are safety tips consumers can use any time when putting away seasonal decorations:
# To unplug electric decorations, use the gripping area provided on the plugs. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from electrical outlets. Doing so can damage the cord’s wire and insulation and even lead to an electrical shock or fire.
# As you're putting away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for flaws. Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken or cracked sockets or frayed or bare wires.
# Do not place a faulty set of lights back into the storage box for next year's use." (Continued via Occupational Health & Safety) [Ergonomics Resources]