Gulf Coast Educators Insurance Advises Homeowners on Holiday Decoration Safety

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Naples Florida Insurance Agency offers decorating safety tips during holiday season.

Picture of Christmas Tree

Gulf Coast Educators Insurance Advises Homeowners on Holiday Decoration Safety

Christmas tree fires, holiday light and candle fires, and falls due to holiday decorating this season can be avoided with the proper safety precautions.

As Florida homeowners deck the halls this holiday season, Gulf Coast Educators Insurance offers holiday decorating tips to help homeowners prevent seasonal decoration liability and reduce the risk of winter fires. “Christmas tree fires, holiday light and candle fires, and falls due to holiday decorating this season can be avoided with the proper safety precautions,” says Ron DeFreitas owner/operator of Gulf Coast Educators Insurance.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heat sources too close to the tree cause approximately 1 in every 6 Christmas tree fires. Additionally, December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. More than 50% of home candle fires happen when something that is flammable is too close to the candle.

Keep home and property insurance costs down and prevent making unnecessary home insurance claims this year with the following decorating tips:

Tree Tips:

Buy a fresh tree. Needles should be green, soft and springy and shouldn't fall off.

Cut 1– 2 inches off the bottom of the trunk and place the tree in a sturdy, large-capacity stand with plenty of water so it can continue to pull moisture into its foliage.

Keep the tree moist. Dry evergreens can ignite quickly if they're exposed to heat, electrical sparks, or open flames. If the tree will be kept outside for a few days, stand it in a bucket of water until ready to bring it inside.

Check the water levels everyday and never let the water level go below the bottom of the tree trunk.

Make sure Christmas trees are at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces,
radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents.

Candle Safety:

Use candles carefully and sparingly.

Keep candles at least a tree's height away from any Christmas tree. Never use candles to decorate a Christmas tree.

Extinguish all candles when leaving, and never leave them unattended.

Keep candles at least 12 inches away from decorations and other combustible materials.

Use sturdy candleholders that won’t tip over.

Consider using battery- operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and
feel like real candles.

Holiday Lights (and Decorations) Guidelines:

Before plugging in lights, make sure to inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots, excessive wear, or loose connections. Toss out any that are damaged and turn off lights at bedtime or when leaving the house.

Don’t connect more than 3 strands of mini lights sets or more than 50 bulbs for screw-in light sets. Only use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside,

Not only are LED lights shatterproof and shock-resistant, they produce almost no heat which makes them safe to touch and greatly reduces the risk of fire.

Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Keep decorations away from heat sources, windows and doors, and make sure extension cords are kept out of the way to prevent possible falls.

If hanging lights at a height requiring a ladder, have someone hold the ladder base. Also, make sure that the ladder is safe and propped against a secure surface before climbing.

Avoid decorating in icy or wet conditions to reduce the risk of injury from slipping off a ladder or even on flat land. If it is icy or wet, make sure to exercise caution when decorating.

DeFreitas adds, “By following safety guidelines, decking the halls each holiday season can be a joyous time and help consumers avoid getting injured and making unnecessary insurance claims.”

Gulf Coast Educators Insurance is the leader in insurance products in Southwest Florida, specializing in homeowners insurance, renters insurance, flood insurance, condo insurance, as well as car insurance and life insurance. With three convenient locations in Naples, Florida, Port Charlotte, Florida, and Fort Myers, Florida, Gulf Coast Educators Insurance Agents are committed to providing custom insurance policies at affordable prices for its educator and non-educator clients.

For more information on Florida insurance policies or to request an insurance quote, please call (239) 591-0963 Naples/ (941) 391-5423 Port Charlotte/ (239) 997-0420 Fort Myers, to speak with an insurance agent or visit them online at

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