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Have a Holly, Jolly Holiday Season With These Decorating Safety Tips!

Decorating for the holidays has become a tradition for clubs across the country. Embracing the festive spirit can bring some yuletide cheer to those who walk through your doors. While this is the time of year to spread joy to the world, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), holiday decorating cause 14,000 hospital visits and over 400 million dollars in structural damages. Ensure a safe environment for everyone when you deck the halls with these simple tips.

Decorate safely

Before you begin decorating, it’s important to take common-sense precautions with the tools you’re using. Substituting out proper equipment with a piece of furniture – like a wobbly, uneven chair – to hang your ornamentation can lead to fatal accidents. Use a stepladder and have a spotter nearby for a little extra security. If you’re using a taller ladder, get the right one for the job. The CPSC recommends ladders that extend three feet over the roofline or working surface, are set at a 75-degree angle while in use and meets your load requirements. Regardless of what ladder you choose, make sure it is placed firmly on even ground

While you’re setting up, watch the placement of your materials. Boxes, wrappings and other items that are sitting in doorways, rooms and hallways could pose tripping hazards. And, of course, clean up any and all spills immediately.

Placing decorations

When looking for the perfect spot to place your holiday decorations, always have high-traffic areas in mind. Placing your decorations in places like doorways can catch your guests and even your employees by surprise, causing trips and falls. Your entrances and exits should also stay cleared, and signs indicating those entrances and exits should remain visible at all times of the year.

If you want to dangle decorations from the ceiling, keep an eye out for what’s up there as well. Hanging decorations need to be at least 18 inches from the sprinkler heads and should never be hung from sprinkler pipes. Similarly, avoid placing paper and plant decorations near heat sources as vents, furnaces, radiators and fireplaces can cause a dangerous fire.

Trees and trimmings

Bringing a fresh tree inside can be the centerpiece of your decorations. It’s a holiday classic guaranteed to add to festive cheer of your club. But if it’s not cared for, the evergreen can become a dangerous fire hazard. Dry greens burn like tinder and can quickly lead to an uncontrollable fire. Taking some extra steps will not only help reduce risk of a fire, but also keep it fresher longer.

Make sure your tree has water in its pot at all times. The CPSC recommends cutting two inches off the bottom of the trunk for better water absorption. If you’re worried your tree is drying out, check the needles. Healthy needles are difficult to pull off and don’t break if you bend them. And if needles are falling off, you may want to find a new tree to place in your club. The National Fire Prevention Association advises removing your tree four weeks after the purchase date.

When it comes to real wreathes and garlands, consider using a spray bottle to keep them watered. A quick spritz can lengthen their freshness. If possible avoid placing them in rooms or areas that can lead to your greens drying out. A dry wreath or garland is not only an eyesore, but it can be a serious fire hazard.

While real decorations are well-known for their ability to inspire the feelings of the holidays, artificial trees and trimmings can provide an equally joyful experience.  If you do choose fake greens for your seasonal decorations, check the tags to see if they’re fire retardant. Flame-resistant decorations can significantly lower your risks.

Lights

Whether they’re indoors or outdoors, lights can be perfect for impressing your patrons. The right setup can create a picturesque scene everyone will love. However, they can be dangerous if you’re not careful.

Only use lights labeled with the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) mark. This will let you know if your lights are from an accredited testing facility that performs the necessary safety evaluations. Also check each set of lights for frayed or bare wires, cracked sockets and loose connections. Discard and replace any sets that are damaged. Never place lights on a metallic tree due to electrocution concerns and avoid using candles as the open flames are a severe safety risk.

When plugging in your lights, or any electronic decoration, watch your extension cord use. Only use one per outlet, ensure the cord is grounded and keep it in low-traffic areas. Cover any cords you have with ground covers and avoid placing them under rugs and running them through doors.

Storage

After the season ends, it’s time to box up those decorations for the next year. Storing everything properly is an incredibly important task when it comes to preserving your decorations for next year, and for the safety of your employees. Occasionally test boxes to keep them from becoming too heavy. This can help prevent boxes from breaking or becoming too difficult to lift, which can lead to injury. And wrap any fragile items your boxing away with packing materials to prevent shattering. If you’re storing electrical decorations, place them in a dry, waterproof plastic container. When unplugging them, always pull from the base and remove any lights that may have defects.

By following these tips, you’re setting your club up for a safe and merry holiday season. If you have any questions about any of the suggestions above, please contact Affinity or your Agent or Broker.

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