Skip to Search Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content

OEM logo

Holiday Safety


‘Tis the season! It’s that time of year to spread holiday cheer, and the UTSA Office of Emergency Management would like to share some great tips to keep you in the know when decorating your workspaces and homes with holiday fun.    

Caring for Your Tree
If buying a fresh tree, do not place it close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant. 

Maintain Your Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires-- they should not be warm to the touch. Do not leave lights on unattended.


Avoid Using Lit Candles
If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house or fall asleep with candles burning.
Finally, as in every season, make sure you have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly, and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.  Know when and how to call for help, and remember to practice your home or work evacuation/escape plan.
With these tips, you and your loved ones can be safe while having a jolly ‘ole time this holiday season.  For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the Campus Alerts website at  Be safe UTSA!

*Article Source for Holiday Tips:  US Fire Administration, FEMA

By Lorenzo D. Sanchez, UTSA Director of Emergency Management