Extreme holiday decorating: tips to stay safe

Are you one of those people who goes to extremes for your holiday decorating?
You certainly aren’t alone. Below, we’ve posted some of our favorite video clips featuring extreme holiday home light shows — but first, we’d be remiss in our role as insurance advisors if we didn’t offer a few words about the importance of safety. In Deck the Halls But Do It Safely When Working with Electrical Lights, EHS Today notes that, “during the 2 months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating. In 2010, the National Fire Protection Association stated that holiday lights were involved in an average of 150 reported home structure fires per year during 2004-2008. Those fires caused an average of eight civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $8.9 million in direct property damage per year.”
If you are doing decorating outside your house, their article offers the following handy tips on safety from SafeElectricity.org:

  • Never throw holiday lights or other decorations into trees near power lines
  • Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep ladders, equipment, and yourself at least 10 feet from all power lines
  • Use only lights, cords, animated displays and decorations rated for outdoor use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use them
  • Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)
  • Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets are not equipped with them
  • Do not staple or nail through light strings or electrical cords, and do not attach cords to utility poles
  • Outdoor holiday lights are for seasonal use, up to 90 days. Bring them inside after the holidays
  • Avoid decorating outside on windy or wet days. Choose to decorate in favorable weather conditions and during daylight hours.

Later this week, watch for indoor decorating safety tips.

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