Please decorate safely this holiday season
The Holiday Season is upon us. To avoid risk of serious injury and potential property loss, please follow these guidelines when decorating university office space. This message of safety is provided by Elaina Perry, Fire Safety Specialist, Environmental Health and Safety Office.
- Types of Decorations. Fire code requires all decorations to be non-combustible; those made of combustible material must be treated with a U.L. listed fire retardant.
- Location. Do not place decorations on doors leading to building corridors or within the corridor itself. In addition, care should be taken not to block access to exits or create tripping hazards in walkways.
- Lighting. All decorative lighting should be U.L. listed and of the type that does not produce heat. You should be able to hold a bulb between your fingers without discomfort for an indefinite period of time.
The temporary use of extension cords is usually unavoidable. However, never leave decorative lighting energized during non-office hours. Do not run extension cords from one room to another, and never string cords across doorways or walkways.
Do not string cords together! If your decorative lighting is too far from an outlet for one extension cord to reach, move the decorations closer, or do not use them. Outdoor lights and energized decorations must be equipped with ground fault interrupters (GFIs).
- Remember: use of open flame (i.e., candles, luminaria, incense) is prohibited.
- Live or harvested trees should be less than five feet in height and placed in common areas only (reception areas, meeting rooms, break rooms). Never place trees near exit doors, exit aisles or in corridors.
- Trees used indoors are required to be treated with flame retardant.
- A tag must be affixed to the tree when purchased stating the date of the sale, type of fire retardant used for treatment, the name of the person who applied the treatment and the name of the person affixing the tag.
- A support device must be used to hold the tree in a stable, upright position. These devices must be of a type that:
- Does not damage or require the removal of the tree stem base.
- Holds the tree securely and prevents the tree from tipping over. A minimum of six inches diameter is required for a one-foot tree, with two inches additional width for every foot over one foot of height. Wider bases are highly recommended.
- Must be capable of holding a minimum of one-half gallon of water, covering the tree stem at least two inches.
Additional safety tips for indoor tree decorating
- Use hot tap water for the initial watering. The stand must never be allowed to become dry. If the stand becomes dry, the tree should be removed from the building.
- Trees can be checked for dryness by the following method: Stand in front of a branch and grasp it near the trunk with a reasonably firm pressure. Pull your hand toward you, allowing the branch to slip through your grasp. If needles fall off readily, the tree does not have the adequate moisture content and should be removed from the building.
- Decorate trees with non-combustible ornaments only. Never use paper, cloth, or cardboard decorations.
- Tree lights must be non-heat producing type (mini lights or LED) that are U.L. listed.
- Do not use electric lights on metal trees; light them with companion spotlights only.
Trees should be placed in areas away from sources of ignition. Never place a tree near heaters, heat-producing appliances, lighting fixtures, televisions or computers.
Remove trees promptly after the holidays.
Related Training in [email protected]
- Fire Extinguisher Hands-On Training (UIC_31)
- Fire Extinguisher Use (ID01)
- Fire Safety - Flammable Liquids (UIC_32)
- Fire Safety - General (UIC_33)
- Fire Safety in the Workplace (ID22)
For more information
Fire Safety Specialist