Your Home Will Shine, Shimmer and Sparkle--Safely

Even a home that is up for the neighborhood decoration prize will be protected from holiday safety hazards. Phyllis Cambria and Patty Sachs, co-authors of The Complete Idiotís Guide to Throwing a Great Party and owners of PartyPlansPlus.com, an on-line party planning site, offer simple decoration do's and don'ts.

DO...

...make sure all electrical cords are UL inspected and approved for your indoor or outdoor use.

...avoid placing extension cords under rugs or in areas where they can become frayed.

...dispose of any frayed electrical cords.

...make a fresh cut about four inches above the old cut immediately before placing your tree in water.

...keep breakable ornaments and lights away from the bottom of your tree to avoid injuring a toddler or pet.

...replenish the water in your tree's base daily.

...spray flammable materials with a fire retardant, available at a home improvement store.

...secure your tree to a wall or heavy object if a toddler or pet might topple it.

...check that your fire extinguisher and smoke alarms are operable.

Don't...

          ...leave a lighted tree or candles unattended.

 ..allow open flames to come in contact with flamable materials and keep out of the reach of small children.

...place your tree, fresh greenery or flamable objects near a heat source such as a radiator, fireplace or space heater.

...burn pine cones in your fireplace. They may explode and cause sparks to fly.

...don't overload circuits by using multi-plug adapters.

...string together more than three strands of lights.

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