With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start sprucing up your store with holiday décor and displays. Seasonal decorations, including lights, trees, and wreaths, can help create the perfect festive environment for you, your staff, and your customers. However, when not installed or displayed properly, these decorations can create safety hazards that can cause a fire or electrical injury.
A fire can have a devastating impact on your business, resulting in costly repairs and lost revenue. The good news is fires are preventable when the right safety precautions are taken.
Follow these fire safety tips to ensure a safe and fire-free holiday season.
- Use decorations that are flame retardant or flame resistant and UL-listed.
- Hang ceiling decorations away from fire alarms and sprinklers.
- Avoid placing displays near heat and other ignition sources.
- If possible, use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles. If you choose to light candles, place them away from flammable or combustible materials, including other decorations, fabrics, plastics, or paper products.
- Do not place candles in an area where they can be knocked over. Never leave a candle unattended and always extinguish it before exiting the store.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets.
- Carefully inspect all lights for cracks, damaged sockets, and loose or bare wires prior to use.
- Check your holiday lights to see if they are for outdoor or indoor use and use them appropriately.
- If you’re not sure whether light strings are rated for indoor or outdoor use, check the color-coded UL mark on the packaging. A green holographic UL mark says, “indoors only, please,” while a red one indicates that the product is safe for both indoor and outdoor use.
- With both indoor and outdoor light use, make sure you don’t overload outlets as they can overheat and pose a fire risk.
- Always turn off lights before leaving the business premises.
- When using light displays inside your store, be sure to test all lights and cords to make sure they are working properly before you set up your display.
- Hang indoor lights with clips instead of nails to avoid damaging the cords and never use decorations intended for outdoor use only, inside your store.
- If you choose to show your holiday spirit with outdoor light displays, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) recommends using only electrical decorations and extension cords manufactured for outdoor use only.
- Keep the cords and lights away from snow or standing water and avoid damage to the cord by making sure it’s not pinched in doors or windows or placed under a piece of furniture.
- When installing outdoor lights, use a ladder made of wood or fiberglass, as metal ladders can conduct electricity.
- If you are displaying and decorating a real tree in your store, choose one that has fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched.
- Find a spot for Christmas trees and/or seasonal plants that’s at least three feet away from any heat source and not blocking an exit.
- Water your tree every day to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle as they become more flammable as they dry out.
- When the holiday ends, or the tree becomes dry, dispose of it properly. Do not leave a dried-out tree inside your store, storage facility, or propped up outside against your building. Many cities and counties have a Christmas tree recycling service with curbside pickup. Check with your local department of public works for availability and collection schedules.
- If you will be displaying an artificial tree in your store, make sure it has a “Fire-Resistant” label.
Make Sure You Are Properly Insured
Fire safety should be top of mind for all jewelry business owners during the holidays and all year long. In addition to having an emergency plan for your business, it’s important to have the proper insurance coverage. Don’t assume you’ll be covered for any peril that threatens your business. Talk with your insurance agent to make sure you have well-rounded coverage and proper limits.
Work with an agent who is an expert in jewelers block insurance. Find a Jewelers Mutual Group agent here.