Each year there are thousands of injuries involving putting up and taking down holiday decor. You can reduce the risk to your members, guests and volunteers as you put Lodge decor away this season (keep this post in mind as you decorate for other holidays, too) by following these holiday decor safety tips:
Live and Artificial Trees
- Purchase a fresh tree to minimize the fire hazard and maximize long life.
- Cut off the bottom 2 inches of the trunk base for better water absorption.
- Water a live tree daily by filling up the tree stand basin.
- Install all trees at least 3 feet from all heat sources.
- Make sure the tree does not block doors or walkways.
- Ensure artificial trees are labeled as fire resistant.
- Take trees down before they dry out, traditionally most choose a date before January 6.
- Remove ornaments from the bottom up to avoid knocking off other decorations.
- Remove excess water from the tree stand.
- Use a large sheet to bundle up live trees before carrying outside for disposal.
- Check your local city or county website for tree pick-up, drop-off and recycling options.
Candles and Flames
- Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Know the dangers: candles start almost half of all home decoration fires.
- Keep candles a safe distance from other decorations.
- Use only artificial electric candle lights on trees or wreaths.
- Always have someone in the room if there are candles lit.
- Use only dry candles since water may cause a wax explosion reaction.
- Avoid using water to extinguish a candle wax fire.
- Consider using all battery-operated candles for added safety.
- Store candles away from heat and moisture.
- Remove batteries from electric candles before packing them away.
- Check lights before hanging and removing. Discard damaged sets.
- Consider replacing hot-burning incandescent light sets with cool-to-the-touch LED lighting.
- String only like lights together, LED with LED and incandescent with incandescent.
- Remember the formula watts = amps x volts to determine a safe electrical load for lights.
- Keep each circuit below 80 percent of its potential wattage to avoid overheating wires.
- Use only lights made for indoor use inside the Lodge.
- Get a spotter to help keep the ladder steady for light installation and deinstallation.
- Ensure lights and extension cords don’t create a trip hazard.
- Put lights away carefully at the end of the season to protect wires and bulbs from damage.
- Power lights with an outdoor outlet and never run lights through windows or doors.
- Use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet to reduce the risk of electrical shocks.
- Consider having a GFCI outlet installed if you don’t have one to protect from electrical shorts.
- Keep indoor lights inside and only use outdoor-designated lights outside the Lodge.
- Dry any wet lights and plugs completely before storing them.
- Avoid letting light strings touch puddles or snow on the ground.
- Take outdoor lights down after the holidays, to prevent wildlife and weather damage.
- Store outdoor lights indoors after the season is over.
- Inspect lights and cords when unpacking and repacking decorations.
- Be on the lookout for damaged sockets and wires.
- Replace light sets with frayed or bare wires or loose connections.
- Follow the package instructions for safe electrical loads for sockets and outlets.
- Hang lights with clips, not nails, staples or tacks, which can damage or stress the wires.
- Turn off the power supply to all decorations before leaving the Lodge.
- Store batteries separately from battery-operated decorations to avoid corrosion.
- Put tape over the terminals before you put your batteries into storage.
- Keep mistletoe, holly berries and other toxic seasonal plants away from children and pets.
- Hang ornaments with ingestible parts high on the tree out of the reach of small children.
- Check ornaments for damage before use and discard broken ones.
- Consider using less fragile ornaments in high traffic areas or around children.
- Be careful with broken glass ornaments which can easily cut you.
- Let adults, not small children, be the ones to put up or take down fragile ornaments.
As the holiday season winds down, ensure your Lodge starts 2020 off right by taking down holiday decorations safely.