Imagine what Philadelphia would be like without any holiday decorations at all. Let's just say we probably wouldn't be able to call it "the most wonderful time of the year." Well, now that we're smack dab in the middle of decorating and showing off our festiveness, it's extremely important to follow the safety tips below. The last place you want to be during the holidays is in the emergency room.
- Each time you plug in and unplug your holiday decorations, check the electrical wires, sockets and connections. Cracked or damaged sockets, bare wires and loose connections can cause serious shocks or even start a fire.
- Never overload an outlet. Check the amperage ratings on the decoration before plugging them in and only plug one high-wattage appliance in at a time. It's also important to make sure all of your outdoor decorations are plugged into GFCI outlets. This way, they'll shut themselves down if they sense an overcurrent.
- Keep the rule of 3 in mind. 3 strands of lights, that is. Even if newer decorations say you can plug in more than 3 at a time, we don’t recommend it. It’s better to be safe than sorry. This also applies to power strips. While some may be able to handle the extra load, we recommend plugging decorations directly into wall outlets.
- Know that dry trees are a serious hazard. When shopping for a tree, run your hand through the needles and make sure they don't fall off easily. It's also imperative to water your tree routinely. Check the stand for water daily - fresh cut trees might need to be watered twice a day.
- Avoid lighting the fireplace or candles near decorations and other flammable items. It’s a tradition to hang stockings and other decorations on or around the fireplace, but that’s not the only place where decorations could come in contact with heat. Make a conscious effort to keep all decorations at least three feet away from anything that gets warm and produces heat.