Christmas tree

Happy Christmas & Let’s All Stay Safe In Our Homes !

2009-12-20:  ‘T’is the Season to be jolly !   It is also the time when we remember family and friends … far and near … and those souls, no longer with us, who remain in our hearts.  Happy Christmas everyone !   And it will be better in 2010 !!

As a special treat … let’s keep Uncle Gaybo (a famous Irish television personality) happy … and give each other the gift of ‘Safety’ !

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In a previous post concerning the MACLAREN Baby Strollers, I referred to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  A few days ago, on 14th December 2009, the Commission issued the following Seasonal Press Release #10-065 …

Ten Tips to Keep Your Holiday Home Fire and Injury Free: Fires Lead the List of Hazards Related to Holiday Decorations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the holiday season approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to make safety a factor in holiday decorating.  Whether it is careful candle placement or checking the warning label on the holiday lights, simple safety steps can go a long way in preventing fires and injuries this year.

Annually, during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating.  In addition, Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires resulting in an average of 15 deaths and $13 million dollars in property damage annually.  Candle-related fires lead the list of hazards averaging more than 12,000 a year, resulting in 150 deaths and $393 million in property damage.

“Holiday decorating related fires and injuries most often involve defective holiday lights, unattended candles and dried-out Christmas trees”, said CPSC Chairperson Inez Tenenbaum.  “We are providing this list of 10 Simple Safety Steps to help keep your holiday home safe.”

Use the Following 10 Safety Tips when Decorating This Year:

Christmas Trees & Decorations

1.    When purchasing an Artificial Tree, DO look for the label “Fire Resistant”.  Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to catching fire.  [In Ireland, ask anyway !]

2.    When purchasing a Live Tree, DO check for freshness.  A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers.  The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

3.    When Setting Up A Tree at home, DO place it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, vents, and radiators.  Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to monitor water levels and keep the stand filled with water.  Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.

4.    In homes with Young Children, DO take special care to avoid sharp, weighted or breakable decorations, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble sweets or food that may tempt a child to eat them.

Christmas Lights

5.    Indoors or Outside, DO use only lights that have been tested for safety by an independent, accredited testing laboratory … such as UL (USA) or TÜV (Germany).

6.    Check each Set of Lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.  Throw out, and carefully dispose of, damaged sets.  DON’T use electric lights on a metallic tree.

7.    If using an Electric Extension Cable, DO make sure it is rated for the intended use.

8.    When using Lights Outdoors, DO check labels to be sure the lights have been approved for outdoor use and only plug them into an external, weather and circuit-breaker protected socket outlet.

Candles

9.    Always keep Burning Candles within sight.  DO extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.

10.  DO keep Lighted Candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

Get more Christmas Decorating Safety Tips at CPSC’s WebSite … www.cpsc.gov/

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My Questions:  In Ireland … is our Consumer Protection Legislation adequate ?   More importantly … is compliance adequately monitored ?   Relating to the critical area of fire safety in the home … do we have any, or sufficient, independent and accredited product testing laboratories ?

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END

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