How to decorate house for the New Year without burning it down: Basic safety rules

Author : Polina Davydova

Source : 112 Ukraine

After purchasing the perfect Christmas tree and festoons, pay a little attention to ensure that the decorations don't catch on fire and ruin the winter holidays
09:00, 8 December 2021

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What can be the celebration of the New Year and Christmas without a Christmas tree, beautiful festoons and bright lights? And all kinds of candles, firecrackers, sparklers and fireworks appeared on the store shelves. However, your home décor can be a potential killer: a dry Christmas tree lights up in less than 30 seconds.

The statistics of fires increases for every winter holidays in Ukraine. So, in the first week of January 2021, 39 people died in fires, and another 32 people were injured. In the majority this happened due to carelessness when using pyrotechnics and violation of fire safety rules.

In the US, the National Fire Protection Association reports that a third of holiday fires are caused by electrical problems.

We've put together some expert tips for you on how to decorate your home for the New Year so as not to burn it down. So:

Buy only fresh Christmas trees

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Choose a tree with fresh needles that do not fall off when touched (this is a living tree), the trunk of the tree should be sticky to the touch. Dry needles instantly ignite.

When you bring the tree home, cut 5 cm from the base of the trunk before placing it on the stand. After that, pour water into the stand every day and keep your tree watered.

Even a well-watered tree will dry up in four weeks, so you should throw it away after the holidays.

Check the lights

When decorating your tree, be sure to replace any lights that have frayed or torn cords, or light bulbs that go out, advises the American Red Cross. Throw away the electric festoons if they are not in good condition. In the United States, about 25% of holiday fires are caused by faulty electrical lighting.

When you go to bed in the evening, make sure the lights are unplugged.

If you have a private home, make sure your street lights are made for outdoor use. If you use hooks or nails outdoors, make sure they are insulated to avoid electric shock or fire.

Place the tree away from candles and fireplace

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You should also place the tree away from heat sources - in the corner of the room, away from radiators and fireplaces. Make sure there is a large distance between the tree and any heat source.

Never use real lighted candles to decorate your Christmas tree or other items that might catch on fire (even if it looks pretty on Pinterest). Candles are the cause of 40% of interior fires.

Never leave candles unattended or go to bed with a burning candle. If you have children in your home, make sure the candles are placed on high surfaces and on sturdy candlesticks. Place the candles on a stable surface to prevent them from falling. The safest option is to opt for LED candles.

If you decide to hang your socks on the fireplace, like in American movies, do not light a fire there. Keep the wrapping paper away from the fireplace - at least a meter away from the fire. Use a fire screen to prevent coals and logs from escaping. Make sure all coals are completely extinguished before going to bed.

When buying an artificial Christmas tree or wreaths, pay attention to the label - it should say that the tree is fire resistant.

Too many extension cords

Using too many extension cords when decorating may cause a fire. Do not overload electrical outlets.

Invest in smoke detectors as well, or check existing ones. Replace discharged and reconnect disconnected batteries.

Don't block the exits

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Make sure doors, stairs, hallways, and fire escapes are not blocked by holiday decorations. Never place decorations or a Christmas tree in front of an exit.

Leave the fireworks to the pros

Many also launch fireworks during the New Year celebrations (although this is prohibited in Ukraine). If you are going to put on fireworks, choose a location away from buildings and trees.

Make sure your spectators, including children and pets, are kept away. Keep a supply of water or a fire extinguisher handy.

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