The resolutions have been made and the last bottle of champagne has been popped open, now it is time to take down all holiday decorations. Residents may have survived the holidays, but they still have to be cautious when removing seasonal decor from inside and outside their homes.
According to Underwriters Laboratory (UL), an independent not-for-profit product-safety certification organization, most fires and fire deaths occur in the United States during December, January and February. UL credits the main culprits for these fires as faulty lighting, dried-out trees, and candles.
In order to ensure a safe post- holiday season, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) and UL urges residents to follow the following safety guidelines.
- Dispose of your natural tree as soon as possible before it dries out and becomes a fire hazard. Call the 3-1-1 Answer Center for information on the tree recycling center nearest to you.
- When putting away electrical decorations, carefully inspect each one. Cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a fire.
- Don't forget to remove holidays lights from the exterior of your residence. Light strings are not meant to be up more than 90 days.
- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when near power lines and electrical wiring.
- Use a ladder with the right height, ensuring it extends three feet over the roofline or working surface.
- Set the ladder on a firm, level surface and avoid soft or muddy ground.
- Never exceed the ladder's weight limit or the maximum load rating.
- Never stand on a step ladder's bucket shelf. Read and follow the warning stickers for highest standing levels.
- Don't carry equipment while climbing. Wear a tool belt or have someone hand equipment to you.
- Face the ladder when climbing up or down, keeping your body centered between the side rails.
According to UL, each year 12,500 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday decorations.
For more information, please contact MDFR's Public Affairs Bureau at 786-331-5200.