Part of the fun during the holidays is decorating the house and, of course, the Christmas tree. But decorations and decorating are not without their risks. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) receives hundreds of reports of injury and/or property damage every year during November and December as the result of Christmas tree and candle fires, broken ornaments, and other dangerous situations. In order to help families and their homes stay safe and avoid personal injury this decorating season, the CPSC and Underwriting Laboratories (UL) offer the following decorating tips:
- If you are buying a live Christmas tree, check for freshness. A dry tree is a fire hazard.
- Set up your tree away from heat sources, such as radiators, fireplaces, and vents.
- If you are going the artificial route for a tree, make sure it is labeled as “Fire Resistant.” Remember that this does not mean “fire proof,” however.
- Decorate the tree with ornaments and trimmings that are safe for small children. Nothing sharp, heavy, or inordinately fragile, and nothing with small, easily removable parts that a child could put in their mouth/eat.
- Always supervise burning candles.
- Make sure candles are placed on stable, heat-resistant surfaces that are inaccessible to pets and children.
- Only use lights that have been safety tested by a legitimate, nationally recognized testing lab, such as UL. Lights that have passed the UL safety tests will have the UL holographic label on them.
- Check every set of lights for damage, such as frayed or exposed wires, cracked or broken sockets, or loose connections. Damaged lights should be thrown out.
- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
- Make sure you are using the appropriate extension cord.
- Make sure you are using lights as they are intended. Some lights are for indoor use only; others are certified for outdoor use.
- Use caution with “fire salts” that create colorful flames when added to wood fires. They can be very dangerous if swallowed as they contain heavy metals.
- Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace as they can easily cause a flash fire.
These tips can go a long way in keeping your family and your home safe this holiday season, but, unfortunately, they cannot prevent every injury accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in Georgia as the result of defective holiday lights, decorations, or any other product, the dedicated product liability lawyers in Atlanta at The Law Offices of Wayne Grant, P.C., can help you obtain maximum compensation for your losses. Call us today at (404) 995-3955 or toll-free at (866) 249-5513 to speak to one of our attorneys about your potential claim.