Put that candle out before you leave!

 

As homeowners, we’ve all been tempted to light a nicely scented candle to get rid of some underlying odor – pets, smoke, the lingering odor of garlic from dinner, or just a stale smell.  Never is this practiced more that at the holidays.  We not only want our home smelling festive, but lighted candles add a wonderful glow which electric lighting simply cannot duplicate.  It doesn’t matter what holiday we are celebrating, candles are a universal symbol of warmth and beauty.

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission has released today a list of tips for those of us decorating for the holidays.  This is especially helpful for those of us decorating and SELLING our homes during the holidays.  We all know a beautifully staged home for the holidays is a wonderful way to increase buyer traffic and give the home an added “wow” factor.  However, simple oversights can have alarming consequences.

 “CPSC estimates there are more than 14,000 candle-related fires each year, which result in about 170 deaths and $350 million in property loss. Dried-out Christmas trees are involved in about 200 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, and about $10 million in property damage. During November and December of each year, about 10,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms as a result of falls, cuts, shocks and burns related to holiday decorating.”

While many of us apply common sense when dealing with holiday decorations, it is particularly important to review some of these tips provided by the CPSC to help ensure our family’s safety.

Trees and Decorations:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree is more resistant to burning.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.
  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • In homes with small children,
    • take special care to avoid sharp or breakable decorations,
    • keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children who could swallow or inhale small pieces,
    • and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
  • To avoid eye and skin irritation, wear gloves when decorating with spun glass “angel hair.”
  • To avoid lung irritation, follow container directions carefully while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

 

Lights:

  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL/ITSNA. Use only newer lights that have thicker wiring and are required to have safety fuses to prevent the wires from overheating.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Throw out damaged sets.
  • If using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for the intended use.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
  • When using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use and only plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles or a portable GFCI.
  • Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.

 

Candles:

  • Keep burning candles within sight.
  • Keep lighted candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.
  • Always use non-flammable holders and keep away from children and pets.
  • Extinguish all candles before you go to bed, leave the room or leave the house.

 

Fireplaces:

  • Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that, if eaten, can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting. Keep them away from children.
  • Do not burn wrapping paper or plastic items in the fireplace. These materials can ignite suddenly and burn intensely, resulting in a flash fire.
  • Place a screen around your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby flammable materials.

Source:  US Consumer Protection Safety Commission

Irene Morales Ward, Northern Virginia Real Estate

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About Quantico Homes

Working primarily as a referral agent, my main motivation is to be able to provide you the highest possible level of service as you look to buy or sell your home in the Northern Virginia Real Estate market. You should be so impressed with your service that you will feel compelled to refer me to your family, friends and colleagues. Our time together is always well spent meeting your specific needs because my time and effort is not spent looking endlessly to generate more business. As a Buyer's Agent, the buyer's criteria becomes paramount during the home buying process. Your needs will never be compromised because Dual Agency is not something I participate in. This is a distinguishing characteristic from many in the industry and I stand firm in the belief that no client in a transaction (whether a buyer or a seller) should be without 100% representation. You deserve all the loyalty and attention from an agent who will always have only your best interests in mind. Keeping in mind that Northern Virginia is a highly transient area, I am always privvy to sales reports and market analysis of all the surrounding counties from Alexandria/Arlington to as far south as Richmond County and from east on the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers to the Shenandoah (and all points in between!). Between the military, corporate, and government relocations, having an agent working to provide you with the latest statistical information and market trends is imperative to a successful sale or purchase. Also, as an e-Pro, finding you homes and communicating that to you becomes increasingly efficient, as does marketing properties for sale. Using exceptional photography for virtual tours, staging all listings, and incorporating "out of the box" methods to generate the largest number of buyer leads while Marketing Your Property For Sale, I can save you time, money and frustration. Start your search for homes at http://www.IreneMoralesWard.com!
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