christmas lights

Please understand that if your department has a more stringent policy governing any of the topics contained in this article, you should adhere to your department's policy.

During the holiday season many of us will be setting out various ornaments, lighting and other Holiday Season related decorations. So here are some tips and suggestions for work and home. Please share them with your coworkers, friends and loved ones.

cartoon of flames Unfortunately, each year fires occurring during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 Americans and injure another 1600. The property damage associated with these fires is estimated to be $990 million. Many of these fires can be prevented. Carefully consider how flammable your decorations are and the fire hazard they may pose.
photo of an electrical extension cord

This is a good time to pause and examine all electrical items especially holiday lighting frayed wires, bare spots, and gaps in insulation, as well as the infamous cracked lighting sockets BEFORE plugging anything in. For those of you lighting up the winter nights outdoors, please make sure you use extension cords and other equipment that is designated for outdoor use.

drawing of an electrical outlet With Christmas tree lights it is generally unsafe to link more than three strings together unless manufacturer's directions indicate otherwise. As is the case all year round, be sure not to overload electrical outlets.
photo of two colored light bulbs

If you'll be purchasing new tree lights, look for the LED (light emitting diodes) lights. Not only are they safer because they are much cooler, but they also use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lights.

cartoon of a candle Candles are another cause for concern at this time. In Maine alone, candles were found to be the cause in 98 home fires occurring between 2000 and 2007, which resulted in an estimated $8 million in property losses. In 2000 an unattended candle fire claimed the lives of two Maine residents. So, avoid using lit candles. Please keep in mind open flames are prohibited in State offices and buildings.
angels with a heart Please remember to be respectful of others who may not share your ideas about celebrating or decorating, especially during the holiday season. If you have any questions or concerns about decorations you plan to display or that have been put up, please discuss them with your human resource or EEO representative.

So, make your holiday decorating a reason to celebrate and avoid having it become a catastrophe by taking the time to check everything. Be safe, be well. Happy Holidays to all.