Holiday Safety Guidelines

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Environmental Health and Safety has a few fire safety guidelines for holiday decorations on campus. Your cooperation will help make this a safe and joyous season for everyone.

Christmas Trees: Cut trees are not allowed. Trees with a root system or bulb are fine; please remember to water them regularly. Artificial trees must have Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) approval ratings and be made of fire retardant materials. Metallic trees may create electrical hazards and therefore cannot be placed near electrical equipment or have electric lights on them.

Electrical Lights: Lights must have a UL or FM approval tag. The use of miniature or LED lights is encouraged as they are more energy efficient and remain cool. Check the lights and cords for frays and cracks before use. Do not piggy-back extension cords, exceed the power capacity of outlets, or run cords under carpets. Be sure to use a cord of an adequate gauge for the circuit to prevent it from overheating. All lights and other electrical displays must not be left unattended. Turn off and unplug electrical lights and displays at the end of the workday.

Garlands and Displays: Keep it small and compact. Decorations should not be used in laboratories. Garlands or displays should also not extend down hallways, as this may obstruct sprinkler heads or other fire safety systems. These may also aide in the spread of fire and delay or impede the safe egress of occupants from the building. If any part of the display plugs in, please refer to the precautions for electrical lights above. A multipurpose (ABC type) fire extinguisher should always be available.

Candles: Lighted candles and open flames are not permitted on campus due to the potential fire hazard. Decorative candles must have their wicks clipped or be capped to prevent lighting. Exceptions may be made for special events by contacting EHS at 304-293-3792. If an exception is made, the candle must be attended at all time, sitting on a flat surface, and the flames must be shielded.

Scents: Many people are sensitive to strong odors and perfumes. Scented candles or other items, like holiday pine cones, should be kept at home and enjoyed there.

For more information about decorating in WVU buildings for the holidays, contact WVU Environmental Health and Safety at 304-293-3792.