During the holiday season I want to help guide everyone’s attempts at festive decoration. I don’t care what it looks like or what it says – if you’re comfortable showing it to my 92 year old grandmother and Gus (he’s 4.5) then you can hang it up – I trust your judgment. I do, however, care if it might cause a fire or prevent someone from getting out of a building that is on fire. That said, please read the following guidelines. Most of it is common sense but still worth stating.
Please don’t block or obstruct anyone’s ability to exit a building with your decorations. That means that halls, stairways, elevators, doors, and doorways should be free of anything on the floor or things dangling from the ceiling, e.g. webs, spiders, mistletoe, bats, extension cords, tinsel, that slimy crap that comes in a plastic egg, lights, skeletons, etc. Additionally, please do not cover emergency lights, exit signs, or any parts of the fire alarm or sprinkler system.
String lights should be UL approved – no one really knows what it means, so just look for the label. I’ve actually never seen lights that weren't UL approved, so good luck breaking this guideline. Oh, and make sure they are the tiny little lights (not big bulbs). And, don’t put things on the lights that could catch on fire (that would be the common sense part).
This is a good one: You can only have artificial decorations. No real trees, branches, pine cones, corn stalks, hay, holly, or mummies. Only the plastic stuff, please. Plastic and metal - actually, plastic, metal, and fireproofed paper (fireproofed paper will have a label on it – don’t use it if there’s no label). Real pumpkins are okay, but they may start to stink if left inside, so put them outside anyway.
Extension cords – be sure they are not anywhere someone might walk, and use a heavy duty rated, 3 prong (grounded) type. Oh, these too, must be UL approved.
As always – no open flames. Actually, no enclosed flames either. No flames at all.
Keep lamps, lights, and other heat sources (radiators) away from decorations (that’s the common sense thing again).
Don’t hang stuff from parts of the fire alarm or sprinkler system (this, too, would fall into the common sense category if I had not seen it done so many times before).
The Security staff makes regular round of all the campus buildings. Whether or not it is covered under the above listed guidelines, you may be asked to remove anything determined to be a fire hazard.
So, enjoy a safe, albeit artificial, fireproofed and plastic holiday season.