Holiday Home Safety

The holidays in Hawaii are a joyous time with pot luck meals, parties and family gatherings. An important part of the festivities are the season's decorations. Being careful with holiday decorations can ensure you safely enjoy the season with your loved ones:

Christmas Trees

  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
    • Cut off about two inches of the trunk for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water holding stand with wide spread feet.
    • As a rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. The average six-foot tree has a four-inch diameter trunk and can consume as much as four quarts of water per day.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant". Although this label does not mean the tree won't catch fire, it does mean the tree is more resistant to burning.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source. Try to position the tree near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.

Lights and Decorations

  • Never use electric lights on a metallic/artificial tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights and a person touching a branch can be electrocuted.
  • Trees can become charged with electricity from faulty lights and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted. Use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto a tree.
  • Use no more than three standard-sized sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • When making paper decorations, look for materials labeled non-combustible or flame resistant.
  • Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or non-leaded materials. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.

*Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Underwriters Laboratories.

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