The 12 Work Days of a Safe Christmas

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Christmas is a time to put work aside and to spend quality moments with your loved ones. The last thing you want to do this holiday season is to worry about your office building’s safety when you’re celebrating the holiday. To keep you focused on the things that matter most and to give you peace of mind during Christmas, try putting into practice these twelve security and fire safety tips.

DAY 1

Avoid using candles in the workplace.

Avoid using candles in the workplace.

While the warm light and holiday scents of a candle can brighten the atmosphere of your office space, they are a hazard when it comes to fire safety. Today, there are several new products on the market that smell, feel, and look like real candles, yet they are battery operated and flameless. If using a candle is a must, keep it at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn easily, make sure it is in a stable holder where it cannot be knocked down, and never leave a burning candle unattended.

DAY 2

Be safe and smart when decorating with Christmas lights.

Decorating with Christmas lights adds holiday cheer to your work environment. Before doing so, inspect all stringed lights for broken cords, loose bulb connections, cracked sockets, and frayed or loose wires. Be careful with hanging lights not to damage the insulation on the wire. According to the NFPA, you should connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Always use a correctly sized and grounded cord that has been tested by UL or another independent testing lab. Avoid using extension cords when possible, and be sure to only use indoor lights when indoors and outdoor lights when needed outdoors.

DAY 3

Use caution while using space heaters in the office.

Use caution while using space heaters in the office.

You may need a personal heater to keep yourself warm at work during the holiday season, but make sure you are taking the proper precautions. Heaters should have a minimum of 18 inches of clearance on all sides and should be equipped with an automatic tip-over switch to shut the unit off if it is knocked over. For a more thorough list of space heater safety in the office, check out our office heater blog post here.

DAY 4

Turn off holiday lighting before leaving the office.

Turn off holiday lighting before leaving the office.

While you may want to display your lighted holiday decorations through the night, over the weekend, or through the holiday break, it is best not to leave these lights on unattended for an extended period of time.

DAY 5

Be aware that your fire sprinkler system pipes are at risk of freezing.

Be aware that your fire sprinkler system pipes are at risk of freezing.

Your wet pipe sprinkler systems are at risk of freezing during low temps, which could call for major business disruption and expensive and time-consuming repairs. Make sure your building maintains enough heat during extremely cold periods during the holiday season, especially when staff is out of the office for long periods of holiday and vacation time. Inspect your fire sprinkler system for any leaks or damages. To learn more about avoiding frozen fire sprinkler pipes, click here.

DAY 6

Make sure your building is well-lit when closed for the holidays.

Make sure your building is well-lit when closed for the holidays.

While your business is closed for the holidays, be sure to keep your building well lit— both inside and outside. Burglars are looking to invade seemingly vacant areas, so keeping some lights on at your place of business will reduce this risk.

DAY 7

Always arm your security system before you leave.

Always arm your security system before you leave.

If you have an alarm system at your place of business, be sure to arm it before you or any employees leave each night and especially before leaving for an extended period for the holidays. This will give you peace of mind which will help you focus on what really matters during the holidays.

DAY 8

Make sure your live Christmas tree does not dry out.

If you opt to buy a real Christmas tree for your office, check to see that it has fresh green needles and that the needles are difficult to pull out. This is an indication of a fresh, healthy tree. Dried-out Christmas trees are highly flammable, so make sure you water your tree at least once a day. This also keeps the tree from getting needles everywhere.

DAY 9

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Display alarm service decals on the outside of you building.

You may be worried about the protection of your building when you’re closed for a prolonged period of time over the holidays. To let potential criminals know that your business is protected, make sure you have decals of your alarm service visibly displayed on the outside of your building. A prominently displayed warning such as this can often stop a burglary before it starts.

DAY 10

Make sure your Christmas tree is not too close to a heating source.

Make sure your Christmas tree is not too close to a heating source.

According to a study by the NFPA, 20% of Christmas tree fires were caused by trees being too close to a heating source. Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, heat vents, or lights. Doing so will prevent your tree from drying up quicker which would make it more likely to catch fire

DAY 11

Check the battery in your smoke alarm.

Check the battery in your smoke alarm.

Because of decorations and live trees, your building may be at a higher risk of fire during the holiday season. To ensure you and your employees are at their safest, check the battery in your smoke alarm weekly and make sure it is working properly.

DAY 12

Turn off all appliances when leaving for the holidays.

Turn off all appliances when leaving for the holidays.

Unless they’re made to stay on, make sure you switch off all electrical appliances at your workplace before you leave for the holidays. Always turn off and unplug Christmas lights before leaving the building overnight or over the holiday break.

At S&S Sprinkler, we believe that prevention is better than the cure. We want to make sure your automatic fire sprinkler system, facility, and business are sustained through this holiday season. Contact S&S Sprinkler to talk office fire safety at sssprinkler.com, or call 251.473.6000 for any fire sprinkler, alarm & office security questions.

The S&S family wants you and your employees to have a wonderful, happy, and safe holiday!

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RESOURCES ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

https://www.northeast-security.com/blog/post/holiday-fire-safety-tips-for-homeowners

http://kralarmlink.com/christmas-home-security-tips/

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/christmas-tree-fires/christmas-tree-safety-tips

http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments/Holiday-Safety-Tips.pdf

Tis The Season To Deck the Office Halls – Office Safety Tips For Christmas

S&S_christmas_office_saferThe holidays are upon us which means many offices decorate their workspace: stringing the lights, finding the perfect Christmas tree, and hanging the decorations. Did you know that from December 15 to December 31 – the height of the holiday season – the number of fires, deaths, injuries, and property losses are significantly higher than the rest of the year? Experts say that, on average, Christmas-time incidents increase by the following amounts:

•       Fires increase by 18%
•       Fire-related deaths increase by 25%
•       Fire-related injuries increase by 24%
•       Property losses increase by 7%

Many home and office fire incidents during this time of year can be the result of holiday activities like cooking, decorating, social gatherings, burning candles, and consuming alcohol and cigarettes (maybe at holiday parties). When these increased activities are coupled with our daily busy schedules, visitors, and the many other distractions that occur in most offices, we pay less attention to fire hazards and, as a result, increase the risk of fire. To make your holiday season a little safer, here are a few safety precautions. Following these safety tips will help ensure a happy and safe holiday season for you and your co-workers:

Christmastime Safety tips

The careful decoration and maintenance of your Christmas tree can go a long way in making your holiday season safe and enjoyable.

• Before purchasing your tree check for freshness, do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles. Few needles should fall when the tree is tapped on the ground. Needles should not bend or break and the trunk should be sticky to the touch with resin.

• Families should cut 2 to 4 centimeters off the bottom of the trunk on the diagonal placing the tree in water as soon as possible once getting it home. Place your tree in a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.

• Many trees have been dormant for a couple months, it’s typical for them to absorb most of their water within six to eight hours after being brought into a warm home. Trees that are kept fresh during the holiday season are much more difficult to ignite, which is why it is critical for consumers to commit to the care of their Christmas tree. If the water level falls below the cut surface for more than four to six hours, the tree’s ability to keep absorbing moisture is inhibited. Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily.

• Make sure the tree is at least three feet (one meter) away from any heat source, such as fireplaces and radiators. Try to position the tree near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.

• When decorating your tree, always use lights listed by a testing laboratory. Some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. Larger tree lights should also have some type of reflector rather than a bare bulb.

• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use tree lights. Any string of lights with worn, frayed, or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used. Connect no more than three strands of push‐in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw‐in bulbs.

• Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

• Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and make sure any lit candles in the room are placed well away from tree branches.

• Regularly check your tree for fresh, green needles. Trees that have dried out over several weeks burn faster than fresh, well‐watered trees. Remember to keep your tree watered at all times.

• Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried‐out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.

• Children are fascinated with Christmas trees. Keep a watchful eye on them when around the tree and do not let them play with the wiring or lights. Store matches and lighters up high, out of reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

• Always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters, out of the reach of children, and don’t leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.

• If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire‐retardant.

• Look for the holographic UL Mark on light strings and electrical decorations. The UL Mark means that UL engineers have tested samples of the product for safety hazards.

Green holographic UL Mark = Indoor‐only use

Red holographic UL Mark = Indoor and outdoor use

• Carefully inspect each electrical decoration ‐ new or old ‐ before plugging it in.  Cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new, UL‐Listed decorations.

• Take down holiday lights after 90 days of use to prevent damage from weather conditions and neighborhood animals and to extend their life.

Have a safe and wonderful Merry Christmas.

Contact S&S Sprinkler to talk safety for your company at sssprinkler.com, or call 251.473.6000 for any commercial fire sprinkler, alarm, notification, or security questions.

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