EHS gives fire-safety tips for the holiday season

string of holiday lightsEnvironmental Health and Safety has offered holiday fire-safety tips to keep in mind this winter—both on and off campus.

  • Artificial trees and wreaths must be labeled by the manufacturer as flame retardant.
  • Use only nonflammable decorations.
  • Keep all decorations away from heaters or open flames.
  • Before use, inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear.
  • All lighting and wiring should be UL-approved and bear its tag.
  • The use of electrical wiring and lighting on metal trees is prohibited.
  • Use extension cords temporarily, not on a permanent basis. (Note: The use of extension cords is prohibited in residence halls)
  • The use of candles and open flames on or near any decorations is prohibited.
  • Do not obstruct the exits, pullstations or fire extinguishers with decorations.
  • Do not hang decorations from sprinkler heads or smoke detectors. This can affect the device.
  • Do not leave lights on unattended.
  • If using a live Christmas tree (live Christmas trees and wreaths are prohibited in residence halls):
    • Keep it in sturdy base to avoid it from tipping over.
    • The base should be capable of holding a minimum a two-day supply of water.
    • Keep it watered and check it at least daily.
    • Check the tree daily for dryness by shaking a branch. If the needles fall off readily or if the needles are brittle and break when bent between the thumb and index finger, the tree should be removed.
    • Remove the tree before leaving for an extended period of time.
    • Don’t place the tree close to a heat source, including a space heater or heat vent. Keep away at least a distance equal to the height of the tree.

For more information regarding holiday fire safety, visit