SOURCE: Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

November 28, 2005 13:13 ET

Operation Decoration 2005: Tips to Keep the Holiday Home Safe and Bright

NORTHBROOK, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 28, 2005 -- With the holidays on the horizon, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offer these safety tips for seasonal decorating:

Christmas Trees

--  Regularly check your tree for fresh, green needles. Trees that have
    dried out over several weeks are easier to ignite. Remember to keep your
    tree watered at all times.
--  Make sure your tree stand holds at least 1 gallon of water. As a
    general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem
    diameter. The average 6-foot tree has a 4-inch diameter trunk and can
    consume as much as 4 quarts or 1 gallon of water per day.
--  Keep your tree at least 3 feet from fireplaces, radiators, space
    heaters, heating vents and other sources of heat. Don't place the tree
    where it blocks an exit.
--  Look for the UL Mark on light strings, electrical decorations and
    extension cords. The UL Mark means that UL engineers have tested
    representative samples of the product for foreseeable safety hazards such
    as fire and electric shock.
--  Ensure lights, decorations and extension cords are rated for outside
    use. Lights intended for indoor-only use bear green UL Marks. Light strings
    intended for indoor and outdoor use bear red UL Marks.
--  Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for electrical
--  Carefully inspect each electrical decoration -- new or old -- before
    plugging it in. Cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a
    serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new, UL-
    Listed decorations.
--  Don't use staples or nails to hang light strings. Instead, purchase
    hooks or clips designed for hanging light strings.
--  Check packaging to determine the maximum number of strings that may be
    connected or use this rule of thumb: Connect a maximum of three midget
    (push-in bulbs) light strings or up to 50 bulbs of light strings with the
    screw-in bulbs (C7s and C9s).
--  Don't overload extension cords by plugging in too many decorations.
--  Turn off all electrical lights and decorations before leaving home or
    going to bed.
--  Keep candles away from decorations, curtains, bedding, paper, walls,
    furniture and other combustible materials.
--  Place candles away from spots where they could be knocked over by a
    person or pet.
--  Use sturdy, non-combustible candleholders that can collect dripping
    wax and won't tip over.
--  Extinguish a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or a half-inch if the
    candle is in a container. This prevents heat damage to the surface and
    stops glass containers from breaking.
--  Don't leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.
--  Always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters, out of the reach
    of children.
--  Never use lit candles to decorate Christmas trees.
--  Extinguish candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
--  Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when near power lines and electrical
    wiring. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
--  Use the right height ladder, ensuring it extends 3 feet over the
    roofline or working surface.
--  Set the ladder on a firm, level surface and avoid soft or muddy
--  Never exceed the ladder's weight limit or the maximum load rating.
--  Never stand on a step ladder's bucket shelf. Read and follow the
    warning stickers for highest standing levels.
--  Only one person on the ladder.
--  Don't carry equipment while climbing. Wear a tool belt or have someone
    hand equipment to you.
--  Face the ladder when climbing up or down, keeping your body centered
    between the side rails.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products for more than 110 years. UL tests more than 19,000 types of products annually, and more than 19 billion UL Marks appear on products each year. Worldwide, UL's family of companies and its network of service providers include 58 laboratories, and testing and certification facilities.

Contact Information

  • Press Contacts:

    For additional information on these and other safety tips, or to schedule
    an interview with a safety expert, please contact one of the following UL

    Doug Dusik
    UL/Rhea & Kaiser
    Email Contact

    Joshua Taustein
    UL/Rhea & Kaiser
    Email Contact