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UL Urges Consumers to Think Safety During the Holidays

Families Could be at Risk for Home Fires and Deaths Due to Hazardous Holiday Decorations

It’s the time of year when twinkling lights, gently glowing candles and festive decor adorn homes everywhere.

While most people look forward to these holiday traditions, they may forget that they can pose very real safety dangers to them and their families.

The season of joy is unfortunately also a season for thousands of injuries and home fires caused by holiday decorations.

This holiday season Underwriters Laboratories (UL), one of the world’s leading product safety certification organizations, is reminding consumers to think about safety to avoid holiday mishaps. If

not done mindfully, cheerful activities could quickly dampen holiday spirits. Products like light strings can become worn after years of use, and they may cause fire or electric shock.

“Decorating the tree, stringing holiday lights and other holiday traditions are what every family wants to remember,” said John Drengenberg, director of Consumer Safety at UL.

“Sadly, all can be a fire hazard or cause an electric shock or injury, so families should take a few minutes to think about the most precious gift of all when celebrating this year: safety.”

SAFE DECORATING TIPS

  • A fresh tree is very important. If the needles are not fresh, there is a greater risk of fire. Ask your tree lot attendant to make a fresh cut to the base of the tree and place it in water as soon as you get home. Position the tree in a stand that holds at least one gallon of water and check moisture level daily. Dispose of your tree after approximately four weeks.
  • Light it right. Carefully inspect each electrical decoration – new or old — before plugging it in… look for cracked sockets or frayed, exposed wires that could become a shock or fire hazard. Replace damaged items with new decorations.
  • Holiday lights – indoor or outdoor? Look at product packaging to determine where a decoration should be used. Indoor-only decorations should not be used outside because they have not been designed or tested to withstand elements like wind, rain and heat or cold.
  • Be skeptical about savings. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of buying decorations in non reputable stores. You want to make sure what you are buying is not counterfeit as counterfeit products have not been tested for safety.

SAFE FAMILY

  • Exercise candle care. Place candles out of reach of children and away from heavy traffic areas in your home. Never leave a room with candles lit.
  • Stand by your pan. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking, frying or broiling.
  • Practice makes the holiday perfect. Use the holiday season as an opportunity to practice a fire escape plan with your children. Every family member should know at least two ways to get out of each room in the home.
  • Gift donations. If you plan to give to those in need, think safety. Consider donating toys your children no longer play with – but are in good condition for second-hand use. Before donating toys with electrical components, make sure they do not have frayed or bare wires/cords as they can potentially cause fire or shock hazards.

“There will be many opportunities for stress and accidents this holiday. Remembering to think about safety while decorating your home will help give comfort to you and your family,” says Drengenberg.

For more information on safe holiday decorating, go to ul.com/consumers.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century.

UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems, with 20 billion UL Marks appearing on 72,000 manufacturers’ products each year.

UL’s worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 64 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 98 countries.

For more information, visit: ul.com/newsroom.

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One Response to "UL Urges Consumers to Think Safety During the Holidays"

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