“It was after the Thanksgiving meal had been eaten and the dishes washed and put away. We put in a classic movie to watch as a family downstairs in the basement family room while we decorated the tree together. Emily was 12 and she was the one who smelled something funny. None of the rest of us could smell anything. I told her it was probably just the Christmas lights burning off dust from being packed away all year. That appeased her but only a bit, she came back to me adamant that she definitely smelled something and asked me to check upstairs. I agreed and as I neared the top of the stairs I began to smell something too. When I opened the door I smelled electrical and smoke and saw little strands of smoke creeping out from behind light switches on the main living room wall and out from the edges of the wood trims around the windows………
It was a short on a wire inside the walls of our home, that was from an outlet that did not often get used except for holiday time when we put lights out on the front porch.
Luckily, the short occurred while we were all still up and awake and the whole family including our pets were fine. We followed our fire drill plan, called the fire department, used up all of our fire extinguishers until they arrived, and they eventually got the 100 year old timbers between the second and first floor to stop smoldering. We were also lucky enough to have an electrician (who was also a family friend) who was willing to come out from his own family on Thanksgiving day night to inspect and clear the house for us to be able to go back in and wet vac the water up off the refinished hard -wood floors.
As we approach December, it is practical to remind ourselves of some basic decorating safety rules to pay attention to.”
-Rebecca from Accord Home Solutions, LLC
The holiday season is here! No matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or all three, we’re excited to share in the holiday spirit. It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, and while you’re busy decorating the house, safety may be one of the last things on your mind.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorations in 2012. Mishaps send about 250 people to the ER daily, with falls, cuts and back strains topping the list of injuries. To ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season with your friends and family, here are 12 tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home:
Place your tree away from fireplaces and heaters, and keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable, due to needles and sap.
A dried-out tree can catch fire faster than one that has been properly watered. Check the water level every other day to ensure proper hydration. Starting with a green tree is one way to keep it from drying out so quickly.
If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.
Paper can catch fire very quickly and can cause flash fires. Instead, recycle (or better yet, reuse!) your wrapping paper.
When stringing lights and decorations above your normal reach, make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base.
Replace any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. The CPSC issued new guidelines for seasonal light safety in 2015, setting a minimum wire size, and standards for strain relief and over-current protection.
Turn off all lights when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire.
Don’t mount lights in a way that might damage the cords, and avoid using nails or tacks. Use hooks or insulated staples instead.
Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended.
If you have fragile ornament, place them out of reach from pets and kids.
Avoid decorations that look like candy or food if you have young children — or pets — in the house.
While festive, poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of reach of kids and pets.
See original at: https://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/holiday-safety-tips/