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Post-Holiday Safety and Clean-Up | Trees, Cords, & More

The holidays have reached their end, and now we have to face the not-so fun part: cleaning and putting away all the decorations. If you’re like us, this is your least favorite part. It seems like such a daunting feat, between trying to pack up the ornaments without breaking them, carefully putting away the lights without tangling them, getting rid of the tree (if you use a real one) – the list goes on.

Once all the excitement has died down, all you really want is to finish the job as quickly as you can. When you try to complete tasks in a fast manner, efficiency and safety are not typically at the forefront of your mind. However, forgoing safety measures can lead to injuries such as electrical shock, water damage, and, of course, fire damage. To prevent such things from happening, follow these post-holiday safety precautions.

Post-Holiday Safety & Clean-Up

Disposing of Christmas Trees

Whether you’re tree is adorned with intricate lights and ornaments or with a whimsical flocking, many of us like to leave our trees up way past Christmas, whether it’s out of sheer laziness or because the tree makes for a really nice conversation piece.

Despite how beautiful your tree might be, leaving it up after Christmas can pose serious risks to your family and home. The longer you leave it up the more flammable it becomes. Although Christmas tree fires are not as common, the NFPA reports that on average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.

In the video below, you can see how much quicker a dried out tree catches on fire.

You can tell if your tree has dried out by the amount of needles falling from it. If a significant amount of needles fall on a daily basis, then it’s time to get rid of your tree. Houston homes with regular garbage service can place their trees curbside for the month of January.

Click here for more details on proper tree and plant disposal in Houston.

Storing Holiday Lighting

When it comes to home fires, Christmas trees aren’t the only culprits. Holiday and other decorative lighting account for 160 residential fires each year. To reduce your odds of experiencing fire damage next year, you’ll want to take extra special care in storing them. Follow these safety tips:

  • Be mindful of how you unplug your cords. Rather than pulling the actual cord, place your hand on the gripping area. Refrain from pulling the cord to unplug your lights, as doing so can damage the wires and insulation.
  • It can be a bit tedious, but while you’re wrapping up the lights, inspect each bulb for damage. Loose connections, broken wires, or broken sockets are all telltale signs they should be thrown away.
  • Never wad up the lights. Take the time to wrap up each set and place them in individual plastic bags or wrap them around a piece of cardboard, coat hanger, or cardboard tube.
  • Always, always, always store your lights in a dry area, away from pets and children.

For more post-holiday safety tips, watch this PSA from the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

You can also download this infographic (ESFI): Wrapping-Up-the-Holiday-Season-pdf