Public Safety 

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

10 Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

Keep your family safe during the holidays. Follow these best practices to ensure your holiday lights and decorations are installed correctly:

  1. Double check lights for frayed wires or cracks, and be sure there is a bulb in each socket. Discard and replace damaged strands.
  2. When decorating outside, keep ladders and decorations away from overhead power lines. Ensure the ladder is securely placed on the ground before climbing.
  3. Lights should be approved by Underwriters Laboratory. "UL" will be clearly displayed on the tag, signifying the product has been inspected for potential safety hazards. Red UL marks indicate the lights are safe for indoor/outdoor use. Green UL marks indicate the lights are only safe for indoor use.
  4. Do not hammer tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights. Instead, use clips to safely attach lights to the house.
  5. Use heavy-duty extension cords, and only use cords outdoors if they are designated for outdoor use. Avoid overloading extension cords by using no more than three sets of standard lights per cord.
  6. If possible, outdoor lights and inflatable decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
  7. Use a timer or turn off lights before going to bed, or if you will be away from home.
  8. For special ornaments that plug into a bulb receptacle, use no more than two per strand, or check the manufacturer's directions.
  9. Indoor lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting. Keep lit candles away from flammable items too.
  10. Prevent tripping by placing cords and decorations in low-traffic areas where they won’t be walked on. Avoid twisting, kinking or crushing cords.

If you have children in your home, use safety caps on all electrical outlets that are not in  use. Keep sharp objects out of reach, as well as items that could be swallowed.

Don’t forget to periodically check lights and decorations throughout the season to ensure they continue to operate safely.