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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

Holiday season safety tips.

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James E. Ballidis
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The holidays are a festive and magical time of the year with over 76% of U.S. homeowners decorating their homes. However, you need to know that every year the hospital ER treats around 12,500 people for injuries, such as falls, cuts, and shocks. The injuries are related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees.
Last week a menorah was placed too close to a picture frame in one Los Angeles’ women’s apartment and she almost lost everything. With the help of a neighbor, she was able to escape and later treated for smoke inhalation. She was very fortunate.
Candles start about 12,000 fires per year, mostly around the holidays, causing 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss. In addition to candles, several holiday electrical products are being recalled. These are additional causes for injuries and deaths during the holiday season.
The popular tree topper ornament, “Precious Moments” is being recalled due to unsafe, undersized wiring. A switch assembly can overheat and melt, causing a major fire hazard. The ornament is about 10 inches tall, colored either in white, gold or yellow. If you have purchased this item, return it to the store for a full refund.
This year the Electrical Safety Foundation, International, ESFI, along with Home Depot are warning consumers of the increase of fake and counterfeit electrical products. Some tips to be sure you have a safe holiday season are: always check for the hologram label “UL” mark from Underwriter Laboratories. This mark certifies that the electrical device has been safety tested. Also, be sure to shop at well known retailers and look at the packaging.
Over 70% of Americans plan to use electrical lighting during the holidays; here are few safety tips from ESFI to ensure you have a safety holiday season:
·    Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires can cause a serious shock or start a fire.
·    Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
·    Never nail or staple lights strings or extension cords.
·    Never use electrical lights on a metallic tree.
Lastly, dry trees are the second largest danger next to lights in the holiday season. A fresh tree can be beautiful but it can become a fire hazard if it dries out. Always remember to:
·    Cut off 1 to 2” off the bottom before placing it in a tree stand
·    Water daily
·    Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source; fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, etc.
·    When the needles start falling off, it’s time to get rid of the tree.
For a complete holiday decorating safety guide, download a copy of the ESFI’s fact sheet at www.esfi.org/
Have a Happy Holiday Season from Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie!

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