Helpful Holiday Insurance Tips

American Accord would like to wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season. To help with the latter, we’ve compiled a few helpful holiday decorating safety tips for you.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas trees are responsible for an estimated $16.2 million in direct property damage annually.  A 2015 study by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), found more than 86% of Americans decorate their homes during the winter holidays. They estimate that over 1,000 fires are attributed to Christmas trees and holiday decorations every year.

Holiday Insurance Tip #1: Christmas Trees & Lights

  1. When purchasing an artificial tree look for the “fire resistant” label. While fire risks are lowered with an artificial tree, chemicals and dust on the tree can still pose a fire hazard.
  2. When purchasing a live tree, pick one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
    1. Before placing the tree in a stand, cut off 2 inches from the base of the trunk for better water absorption.
    2. Be sure to add water daily and keep your tree hydrated.
    3. Keep your Christmas tree a minimum of 3 feet from any heat or spark source.
  3. Inspect your lights and discard any that are damaged or frayed and worn out.
  4. Turn off lights and decorations when you are going to bed or leaving the house for an extended length of time. Using a timer helps.
  5. Make sure cords are not pinched in doors, windows or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
  6. Secure inflatable décor properly.
  7. Use lights approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). You will find a holographic sticker marked “UL” on the tag.
    1. RED UL stickers indicate indoor/outdoor use.
    2. GREEN UL stickers indicate indoor use only.
  8. Avoid hammering tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights, use clips instead to safely attach lights to the house.
  9. Don’t overload extension cords by using no more than three sets of standard lights per cord.
  10. Plug outdoor lights and décor into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) to prevent shock.
  11. Do not use inflatable decorations on windy days. You may damage the inflatable, motor and more.
  12. Periodically check lights and decorations during the holiday season to make sure they are functioning properly and safely.

Holiday Insurance Tip #2: Fall Prevention

Using ladders, stools and other furniture to hang lights, ornaments and other decorations increase their risk of injuries and falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • If using a ladder;
    • make sure it is secure and level
    • make sure it extends at least three feet over the roof line or work area.
  • Try using a step stool instead of furniture when hanging decorations.
  • Place cords in non-trafficked areas to prevent tripping.
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