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Don't be Clark Griswold: Safely Decorate Your Home for the Holidays year, my wife and I love to watch the movie Christmas Vacation during the holiday season. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when Clark, with all of his family surrounding him, tries to grandly present the neighborhood with his outside light display. Although he has lots of trouble, he eventually gets the lights to work and his house brightens up the neighborhood for sure.

A recent study indicates that Clark Griswold isn't alone in decorating his house for the holidays. According to findings from an ESFI consumer survey, more than 86% of Americans decorate their homes as part of the holiday season. Nearly two-thirds of people responding to the survey indicated that they use electric lights inside their home while more than half use lighted decorations outside of their home. More than 60% of people who decorate for the holidays use at least one extension cord.

Christmas lights are a great way to spread holiday cheer, but they can also significantly increase the risk of fire and electrical injuries if not used properly. Given that there are increased hazards associated with holiday decorations, it is important to keep safety at the forefront of your decorating. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you and your family are decorating:


Many artificial trees are fire resistant, but be sure to look for a statement indicating as much when making a purchase.

A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for tree freshness remember:

- A fresh tree is green

- The trunk butt of the tree that is fresh is sticky with resin

- Fresh needles are hard to pull off of the tree.

Place the tree away from foot traffic and don't block doorways with a tree. Never place a tree near a fireplace or other heat source.


- Whether your lights are going inside or outside, only use lights that have been tested for safety.

- Always check each set of new lights for broken or cracked sockets and replace damaged sets before use;

- Use no more than three standard sets of lights for each extension cord;

- Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you leave the house or go to bed as lights could short-circuit and cause a fire;

- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree;

- Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm support to protect from wind damage;


- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens

- Always use non-flammable candle holders;

- Keep candles away from flammable objects like decorations and wrapping paper

- Place candles in a safe location where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.

These safety tips are just a few to keep in mind when decorating your home for the holidays. Always keep safety a top priority so you and your family can have a safe, enjoyable, and relaxing holiday season.

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Manchin Injury Law Group 1543 Fairmont Avenue Suite 203 Fairmont, WV 26554 Toll Free: 866-903-9632 Phone: 304-816-4097 Fax: 304-367-1867 Fairmont Law Office Map