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Holiday Party and Decoration Safety Tips for Your Business

The holidays are a great time to decorate your business, have a party and celebrate with co-workers. But amidst all the fun, be sure that safety remains a priority at your place of business. Whether you’re planning on decorating and making the mood more festive or going all-out and planning a holiday party, stay focused on the wellbeing of your guests and employees. Here are some tips to help keep your holidays happy and your employees protected.

Dazzle Them With Holiday Lights

Twinkly seasonal lights give your building a warm holiday feel and they can raise employee spirits. With a little planning and preparation, your light decorations will be beautiful, lasting and safe.

Spread the joy wisely. Install your decorative lights near outlets. Extension cords can be a problem. They can turn into tripping hazards if they cross areas where staff or guests will be walking. Try taping cords down that cross walkways using duct tape to keep them flat to the floor.

Protect the power. Plug your lights into surge-protected outlet strips. This simple step can really help to protect your business from fire. And at the end of each workday, be sure all power strips are unplugged from their outlets to be sure everything will be safe overnight. Check out more important tips on electrical safety to be sure your business is doing all it can to reduce risks.

Connect carefully. Never link more than three strands of lights, unless the directions say it’s safe to do so. Too many Christmas lights strung in a row can get warm. Keep the heat down by limiting the number of strands.

Work weather-wise. If placing lights outside, be sure to use exterior grade with outdoor lights, surge protectors and extension cord connectors. You’ll also want to have a weather-protected outlet nearby.

Check for damage. Inspect your holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear. Discard strands that are damaged.

Buy smart. Only use lighting listed by a well-known testing facility. Use LED lights to reduce the electrical draw and keep the heat down.

Inspect often. Reduce the fire hazard by looking at the wires every once in a while. After they’ve been on for a while, the plugs should never be warm to the touch. If they are, plug some of the lines into an unused circuit.

Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

Because driving back with the tree can find you battling winter weather, take a look at our holiday travel safety tips and drive safe this holiday season. If you’re going with an artificial tree, we’ve got a few things to consider as well.

Assign tree captains. If you plan to use a live tree, it’s time to delegate. Assign a few people to be in charge of dropping by the tree daily to make sure all is well. They should think about adding water if needed and checking the electrical connections to be sure everything’s running smoothly.

Select a young tree. When buying a live tree, ask the seller when the tree was cut down. Stay away from trees that are more than a month old or trees whose needles pull off easily.

Position strategically. Place trees away from fireplaces, hot air vents or other sources of heat. This will help keep the tree from getting too dry too quickly.

Apply fluids liberally. As trees get older, they lose their moisture and become brittle. It’s best not to keep your tree for more than two weeks, and have workers make sure there is always water in the stand. A thirsty tree is a fire hazard.

Insist on quality. If opting for an artificial tree, find a flame treated one and make sure it’s been tested by a third party lab or group.

Beware of Food-Borne Illnesses

Holiday foods make every party better! Make sure safe food-handling practices are a serious focus when making food for your holiday event. If employees will be serving or prepping food, have staffers review our food safety tips to get them up to speed on the way to handle food. And be sure you're following these safety rules to help keep your business free from food-related illnesses.

Prepare with care. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs (including their juices) away from areas used to prepare ready-to-eat foods. 

Watch the temp. Always cook foods to the proper temperature, and refrigerate items promptly. Serve hot food in food warmers, slow cookers or warming trays. Cold food should be served by nestling serving dishes or bowls in ice, or use small serving trays and swap them out frequently.

Store smartly. Don't leave perishable foods out for more than two hours. Especially meats and items cooked with eggs. Bacteria can accumulate quickly on these dishes, so it’s best to swap them out sooner rather than later.

After all that hard work, check in with your American Family Insurance agent and be sure your coverage fits your holiday business plans. Now that you’ve got the tools to celebrate the holidays safely, get out there and enjoy them!

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