It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. This is a season of joy and happiness as we celebrate the birth of...

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. This is a season of joy and happiness as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In preparing for this celebration, we adorn our homes, inside and out, with decorations. In some cases, folks become part of a “tacky tour.” No matter how many decorations are put up, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking intentional steps to prevent injury or death to you and your family members.

Let’s begin with the outside decorations. If you choose to put up lights, check them for proper operation. If the lights do not light up properly, replace them. Once you know that the lights are working, you are now ready to put them up. Putting them up probably entails climbing a ladder.
I will address everything involving ladders here. Many people fall from ladders each year. First, what is the condition of the ladder? Climbing a faulty ladder is problematic. If your ladder is safe to climb, then you are set to throw your ladder. You want to ensure that it is on level ground, or you must do what is necessary to level it. The proper angle is determined by standing in front of the ladder and grabbing the rungs in front of you. Your arms and back should be straight. It is safest to have someone foot your ladder, but that is not always possible. One should maintain at least three, but preferably four, points of contact with the ladder. If carrying things up the ladder, then slide your hands on the side rails. Be extremely careful once you have made the climb, whether getting onto your roof or working off the ladder. Being intentional with every step is vital.

If you add additional lighting to your home’s electrical system, ensure that your system can handle the increased amperage. If breakers trip, then you have overloaded the circuit or there is a problem in the circuit such as a short. Do not bypass anything electrical. Overheated electrical equipment could cause a fire.

Inside the home, let’s talk about inside decorations. Whether there is an artificial or natural tree, ensure that the lights are working properly. There are things that you must consider if you put up a “live tree.” The fact that it has been cut means that it is dead and will go through the dying process while in your home. Watering your tree will slow this process, but it will still occur. A dry Christmas tree burns fast and hot, raising the temperature of a room and contents to their flashpoint temperature quickly. If your tree dries and begins to drop needles, then you may need to remove it. It will be important to establish your home escape plan, considering the placement of your Christmas tree.

The packages that you put under the tree add fuel load to a space. You must keep packages at least 3 feet from all heat sources. With this added fuel load, it becomes even more important to ensure there are a proper number of properly operating smoke alarms. Fires can be casued by decorations.

If you have a fireplace or a wood stove, be careful with the ashes. A tragic Christmas season fire occurred because a child did not believe that Santa could come down the chimney with a fire in the fireplace. The ashes were removed, placed in a bag and set on the front porch. Do I need to say more?
Ashes remain hot enough to start a fire for days. It is imperative that one place ashes in a metal container away from other combustibles.

These are but a few of the many things that could cause a fire or an accident around the home during this holiday season.
Be intentional about everything you do to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

It is my prayer that you will have a very awesome Christmas!
Take the steps necessary to prevent a fire or accident, but if something goes wrong, have a plan.