Risk Management Offers Guidelines to Keep the Holidays Safe
As the holidays approach, Risk Management Services offers some decorating advice to keep University employees, students and offices safe.
Risk Management Services strongly suggests not using live or cut trees. However, trees are allowed in some University buildings during the first three weeks of December. They are not permitted in dorms, on the Health Sciences campus, or in large classrooms or auditoriums. Those who use live trees are asked to use a flame-retardant solution, which can be applied by spraying or dipping the tree.
All live trees must be removed from University buildings before the winter closure, which begins Dec. 24.
All holiday lights must bear a UL label, which indicates they have passed safety certification company Underwriter Laboratories' requirements. Lights should not be plugged into overloaded circuits. Anyone who needs additional outlets should use a power strip with a fuse or integral circuit breaker. Strings of lights and other electric decorations are not allowed on live or cut trees.
To avoid tripping hazards or property damage, electrical cords should not be routed through doorways or under throw rugs or carpeting. They also should not be stapled or nailed to walls or ceilings; use tape instead.
Tree lights should not be left unattended when they are on. Lights and extension cords used for decorations must be unplugged at the end of each day.
Decorations should not block exit signs, fire alarm devices, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers or light fixtures. Paper decorations should not cover more than 25% of the surface area of any wall. No items should be hung from sprinkler heads or piping. Also, be careful when using artificial snow spray, as it can set off smoke detectors.
"Fire safety on campus is everyone's responsibility," said Herb Wagner, director of occupational and environmental health and safety. "Following these decoration guidelines allows the University community to celebrate the holidays while ensuring the campus is safe for all students, faculty, staff and visitors."