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7 tips to safely decorate your home for the holidays

Decorating with holiday candles? Consider the flameless kind — as December is the peak month for candle fires.

The risk is so common that nearly one-third of us have done this – left the room or fallen asleep while candles are burning, according to a 2020 national American Red Cross survey. If you must use candles, never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything that could burn and place them out of reach from children and pets.

With Los Angeles County facing a three-week Safer at Home order, many more of us will be indoors and with a smaller group of loved ones. The Red Cross Los Angeles Region urges everyone to follow these decorating safety tips to prevent fires and keep everyone safe:

  1. Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord. Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
  2. Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid electrocution or fire hazard.
  3. Look for the fire-resistant label when buying an artificial tree. Keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.
  4. If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. Bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
  5. Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings on the mantel.
  6. Check the labels of older decorations. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
  7. Have good, stable placement when using a ladder and wear shoes that allow for good traction.

STAY SAFE FROM HOME FIRES Test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).

Additionally, you can learn how to keep your family safe in the cooler months by joining Red Cross LA’s next Community Conversation: Home Fire Safety During Winter joined by the Los Angeles Fire Department on Dec. 2 and in Spanish on Dec. 9. For more information or to view past Community Conversations, visit redcross.org/la.

This article was release by the American Red Cross.