Safety Tips: Holiday Lights on Trees and Homes
It’s the season for decorating with trees, ornaments, and wreaths, and millions of people around the world will light up their homes to celebrate the holidays. While most holiday lights are safe and relatively easy to install, there are plenty of things to watch out for in order to avoid injury this Christmas season. Homeowners can suffer from electrical burns, falls from ladders, or slip on ice while trying to install decorations. It’s important to follow a few safety precautions to avoid these injuries.
- Inspect lights for cracks, breaks, loose wires, frayed wires, or other defects. Discard the strand if you see any problems.
- Only purchase lights that have the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) label as they are tested for safety and are better to use than untested lights.
- Don’t hang lights or decorations within reach of small children who can ingest small parts or pull decorations or trees onto themselves.
- All cords should be stored away from water, heat sources, and metal objects, and should be high enough that pets can’t chew on them.
- Outdoor lighting is best connected to a three-pronged extension cord with a UL label for safety.
- Don’t string cords through doorways or windows where they can get pinched and damaged.
- Turn off lights and unplug cords when you are away or when you go to bed.
- Secure ladders carefully before you climb up, and never stand on the top step. Follow all safety precautions listed on the ladder.
- Spread salt on icy spots around your house and sidewalk areas to avoid slipping and falling. Never climb on a slippery roof to affix lights.
- Secure lights and decorations so they can’t fall on someone below.
- Never use open-flame candles to decorate with, as they can easily cause house fires.
- Only purchase flame-resistant artificial trees, and if you use a live tree, water it regularly so it won’t dry out and present a fire hazard.
- Light bulbs should never rest on tree needles and branches, where they can slowly heat up and cause a fire.
As always, consider your neighbors when you light your house. Don’t leave lights on past 10 p.m., and remember that blinking lights or loud holiday music can be distracting to others in your neighborhood.
Many Arizona residents take the family to see lights around the city during the holidays, and you can walk, bike, or drive through many of the attractions. There are some great places to view holiday lights around our metropolitan areas in Arizona, including:
Tucson: The 68th Annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights, December 9-26, with entrances on Ft. Lowell, Tucson, Country Club and Prince.
Phoenix: IlluminationAZ, November 14 – January 14, entrance at 27701 N. Black Canyon Highway.
Tempe: Fantasy of Lights Opening Night and Boat Parade, November 24 and December 9, starts on Mill Avenue at 3rd Street and runs through 7th Street, Centerpoint Plaza, Maple Street and 5th Street.
Scottsdale: Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stallman Railroad Park, December 1 – January 7, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road.