Winter for many is a time of joy, celebration and tradition. Decorating your home or yard is a fun, festive way for one to celebrate the season. Some planning can help you enjoy  your displays all season.  Following are some tips from Travelers Risk Consultants to help keep your family and friends safe.

Planning your Holiday Display

  • Plan your display according to the number of available outlets, and avoid overloading electrical outlets.
  • Use lights that have been tested for safety – look for a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL. Consider using LED lights when possible – they run cooler, use less energy and last longer than incandescent lights.
  • Never exceed the maximum number of strings or devices that may be linked together, as indicated on packaging.
  • Carefully inspect all lights and decorations for cracks, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires prior to use – these defects can cause a serious fire or shock.

Decorating Safely

  • When decorating the outside of your home, keep yourself, your decorations and equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Also make sure decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance away from flammable items.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when putting up electrical décor and lights outside since metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Secure lights, decorations and cords to prevent wind damage. Never staple, nail through or fasten electrical wires or extensions cords in any way that might damage the wire or insulation. This could cause electrical shock or fire.
  • Make sure to unplug electric lights, devices and decorations before installing or replacing bulbs, changing parts or attempting other repairs.

During the Holidays

  • Make sure to turn off all the lights and electrical decorations before leaving home or office, or before going to bed.
  • If possible, try and use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles to avoid the hazards of an open flame. If you do choose to light candles, place them away from flammable materials, including other decorations, fabrics, plastic or paper products.
  • Don’t put candles in places where they might be easily knocked over, and never leave a lit candle unattended.
  • Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to bed.

Packing and Storing

  • Store decorations in a dry location that is out of the reach of children and pets, as well as heat sources and open flames.
  • Stack boxes in a corner or any other stable location, and never higher than eye level to avoid injury or damage from toppling.