As the holidays are rapidly approaching, Harrington Group would like to remind everyone that while decorations are festive and beautiful, if not managed properly, they can also be very dangerous and pose increased fire risk. The Daily News reported a fire earlier this week in Colorado, believed to be caused by an outlet overloaded with Christmas lights, killed a 45-year old father of two.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that during the years of 2005-2009, holiday lights were involved in an average of 150 home fires, caused an average of eight civilian deaths, and resulted in approximately $8.5 million in property damages per year.

NFPA offers many tips to keep you and your loved ones safe from the dangers of fire that include the following fire safety solutions:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Check the packaging; some lights are only for indoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
  • Keep your tree well watered.  A dry tree can be extremely dangerous. See how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be in comparison to a well-watered tree in a demonstration by NFPA.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Get rid of the tree when it is dry. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Be sure to visit the NFPA website for more tips and tools for fire safety solutions.

All of us at Harrington Group wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season!!

By Jeff Harrington, CEO and Founder of Harrington Group, Inc.