What Goes Up Must Safely Come Down

Christmas is over, but is it put away? Are their lights aligning your living room? Is your tree still towering inside your Chicago real estate?
“It’s not uncommon to see residents keeping lights and Christmas trees up past December,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “The reality is, continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out Christmas trees can pose significant fire hazards in and outside the home.”
box full of xmas lightsAccording to the NFPA, there are more home structure fires in the cooler months than any other time of year.
If you water your Christmas tree, it should last at least three weeks. Once it stops retaining moisture and pine needles are dropping to the floor, it’s time to get rid of it. Dried trees should not be kept in your home or your garage.
While Christmas tree fires are uncommon, they can be deadly. One out of every 18 Christmas tree fires results in death, according to the NFPA. That is a high percentage, especially when compared to the normal ratio of one death per 141 home fires.
As far as all your other decorations, the NFPA offers these storage suggestions to reduce the risk of holiday light fires and keep equipment in good condition for next year:
*To unplug electric decorations, use the gripping area provided on the plugs. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from electrical outlets, which can harm the cord’s wire and insulation and even lead to an electrical shock or fire.
*As you’re putting away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for damage. Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires. Do not place a damaged set of lights back into the storage box for next year’s use.
*Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard. Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness.