10 important safety tips for holiday decorating

Prevent house fires and emergency room trips this holiday season by following a few common-sense rules for safe decorating.

1. Keep your live tree from drying out—and becoming a fire hazard—by chopping about two inches off of the trunk as soon as you bring it home. Dunk it in water; water it every day; and get it out of your house once it starts drying out.
2. Use artificial trees only if they are labeled “fire resistant.”
3. Keep all trees at least three feet away from heat sources, like space heaters, fireplaces and radiators.
4. Place small, breakable and sharp ornaments on high tree branches so children can’t reach them.
5. Check the labels on packages of holiday lights to learn if the strand is for indoor or outdoor use. Don’t use indoor lights outside.
6. Don’t use last year’s lights if they have cracked sockets, frayed wires or loose connections.
7. Avoid plugging more than three light strands into a single socket.
8. Hang lights with plastic fasteners, never with nails, tacks or wires.
9. Turn off indoor and outdoor lights and decorations when the family turns in for the night or leaves the house.
10. Be aware that some holiday plant, like poinsettias and mistletoe are poisonous. Keep them out of reach of children and pets.