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With the holidays upon us, Old Dominion University's risk management department offers a few basic precautions to ensure a safe and happy season.

·Ensure your live Christmas tree has been freshly cut. Needles should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the trunk should be sticky to the touch. Do not place your tree close to a heat source, as the heat could dry out the tree, causing it to more easily ignite. Do not keep your live tree up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water, and remember to discard the tree properly.

·Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking. Use only lights listed by an approved testing agency, and do not overload electrical outlets or leave holiday lights on unattended.

·Use only nonflammable or flame-retardant decorations. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame-retardant also.

·Place candles in stable holders and make sure they cannot be easily knocked over. Never leave candles burning unattended.

·Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries. Know when and how to call for help.

This article was posted on: December 15, 2005

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.