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The holidays are here! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, it’s important to keep the safety of our homes and ourselves in mind when decorating for the season. We get caught up in the glitz and glamour of our holiday décor, that we often forget the safety measures we must take to keep our homes safe. Before we get into our Holiday Safety Checklist, here’s some important facts from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that everyone should know.

In 2012 the CPSC reported over 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorations. This includes, falls, cuts, and burns, which are only a few mishaps reported. The number increases every year and is significantly higher than the 13,000 injuries reported in 2010, 10,000 in 2007 and 12,000 in 2008 and 2009. Between 2006 and 2008 the CPSC reported nearly 130 deaths and over $360 million in property losses related to candle fires. The number of deaths has decreased, but there has been an alarming increase in the number of incidents.

Here are some tips to keep you and your home safe during the holidays:

1. Keep live trees away from heat sources.

Keep your trees away from heaters, fireplaces and ovens. This includes fake and real trees, which are highly flammable due to the needles and sap. Remember to always have a fire extinguisher in your home.

2. Hydrate your tree.

This one’s particularly important, because dry trees can catch fire much quicker than ones that have been properly watered. Water your tree regularly and or check water levels daily to ensure a hydrated tree.

3. Keep it Fake.

If you have a busy schedule or spend little time at home but still love the holiday decor, this one’s for you! Buying an artificial tree has its advantages. No daily watering and little maintenance but remember to get a tree labeled “fire resistant.” These trees are less likely to catch fire.

4. Keep an eye on burning candles and keep them on stable surfaces.

Remember to blow out all candles before going to bed, leaving a room or leaving your home. This is particularly important when lighting Menorahs or Kinaras. Keep all lit candles out of reach of children and make sure they are placed in a sturdy heat resistant surface. Lit candles should also be kept away from trees, curtains and flammable items.

5. Check your lights!

Read all labels on holiday lights. Lights intended for outdoor use are only to be used outdoors and vice versa. Any light strings with broken lights, exposed or frayed wiring, cracked sockets and loose connections, should not be used. Indoor extension cords should never be used outside and never use electric lights on a metallic tree. When using a ladder to install lights, have a partner help you for ladder safety. Having an additional person help you with lights and decor, can prevent falls and other ladder related incidents.

We hope these tips are helpful when decorating for the holiday season.

Happy Holidays!