‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, and if you’re anything like us, that cheer is going to involve plenty of twinkling: flickering candles, blinking lights, electrical icicles. Bring on the holiday lights!
But before you drag out the bins of holiday cheer, it’s important to consider your safety. Because while sweet lights and melting wax are very cozy, they’re also a fire hazard. Here are a few tips to keep you (and your home) safe this season:
Holiday Light Safety
Holiday lights are a leading cause of home and electrical fires. Here’s how to use them safely:
- Use LEDs: If you haven’t upgraded to LED light strings, do so. LEDs are cool and consume less energy, and therefore pose lower a fire risk.
- Always turn lights off: When you go to bed, head out, or otherwise walk away from your holiday lights, you should turn them off AND unplug them.
- Don’t cover your lights: Don’t drape fabrics (even decorations) over holiday lights.
- Use the right ladder: If you’re hanging outdoor lights, don’t use a metal ladder; instead, opt for wood or fiberglass.
If you absolutely cannot stomach the idea of battery-operated candles – and may we say, they’re beautiful, they’re atmospheric, and the good ones look authentic! – then you should take serious precautions with real flame:
- Never walk away: Before you leave a room, extinguish all candles. Never leave a burning flame unattended. (This goes for your menorah, too.)
- Place candles carefully: One of the best tricks to keeping your candles safe is to keep them away from anything that could catch flame – curtains, blankets, bedding, and carpets, among them.
- Trim your wicks: Speaking of not causing a fire in the first place, be sure to trim candle wicks to ¼” before lighting. Long wicks can drip or even hang down to set fire to neighboring fabrics.
- Don’t burn down to the nub: If you burn a candle down to the very end, you also expose yourself to open flame. Stop burning your candles at about 2″ of wax, or 1/2″ of container.
- Extinguish properly: To put a candle out, use a snuffer. Do not use water, as that can cause wax to splatter.
Enjoy your season of light – safely!