Holiday Decorating and Life Safety

The Holiday Season is in full swing, and many healthcare centers and facilities are decking their halls to bring joy and festive cheer to their residents and staff. While decorating for the holidays is a time-honored tradition, it's essential to keep life safety in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone. Here are some important reminders from the Life Safety Code to help you decorate responsibly and minimize potential hazards.
1. Choose Artificial Greenery
When adorning your facility with greenery, use only artificial greenery rather than natural evergreens. Artificial greenery is not only durable but also safer when it comes to fire hazards. Make sure the artificial greenery you use is labeled as fire-resistant or flame-retardant and is UL listed. This label indicates that the product meets recognized safety standards.
2. Use LED Lights
Lights are an integral part of holiday decorations, adding warmth and sparkle to your facility. When selecting lights, choose LED lights, which are more energy-efficient and produce less heat compared to traditional incandescent bulbs. Be sure to check the label to confirm that the lights are intended for indoor use and bear the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) marks, signifying their safety compliance.
3. Use Electrical Power Safely
An outlet is the best way to power your holiday lights and decorations, you can use a single power strip if necessary. However, it's crucial to ensure that the power strip is UL 1363 listed and surge-protected. This added protection can prevent electrical overloads and reduce the risk of fires caused by faulty equipment. Can't reach an outlet? Move closer. Don't use extension cords or "piggyback" with multiple power strips plugged in to one another.
4. Inspect Electrical Decorations
Before putting up your electric lights, inspect them carefully. Look for labels indicating that they are designed for indoor use and bear the Underwriters' Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) marks. Damaged or frayed wires, as well as loose sockets, can pose fire risks and should be replaced promptly.
5. Use Safe Hanging Methods
When hanging decorations, opt for electrical tape or cup-type hooks rather than staples, tacks, nails, or paper tape. These alternatives reduce the risk of damaging wires and causing electrical issues.
6. Maintain Clearance
Make sure that your holiday decorations do not come into contact with items such as paper, packages, or cloth. Keeping a safe distance between decorations and flammable materials is essential to prevent fires.
7. Avoid Blocking Exits and Safety Equipment
For the safety of your colleagues, residents, and visitors, keep decorations out of corridors, aisles, stairways as well as and off windows and doors. Ensure that decorations do not obstruct exit doors, exit signs, fire and smoke doors, sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, pull stations, emergency lights, or any other life safety equipment. This unobstructed access can be critical in the event of an emergency.
8. Respect Fire Safety Measures
It's vital to avoid hanging decorations on fire doors or doors in fire corridors. These doors play a crucial role in containing fires and maintaining safe evacuation routes.
By following these life safety guidelines while decorating for the holidays, you can create a festive and secure environment for residents, staff, and visitors alike. Enjoy the holiday season and may your center shine with the spirit of the season while prioritizing safety.
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