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By Selena Stevens

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"Decorations are a major source of fires, especially during the holiday season."

--UK Fire Marshal Garry Beach

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Dec. 4, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Decorations add a special spice to University of Kentucky buildings during the holiday season, but they could be dangerous.

UK Fire Marshal Garry Beach said employees and students should be mindful of decorations that may create fire hazards.

“Decorations are a major source of fires, especially during the holiday season,” he said. “It’s terrible when a fire disrupts the happiness of the season. Being careful with decorations is a key way to avoid that situation.”

Beach said people often simply overlook the dangers of some decorations. Candles are a popular holiday decoration, but their open flames can ignite other objects. Cut Christmas trees dry out within a few days and burn rapidly if they catch fire. Trees and gifts in front of windows and doors block needed fire escapes.

The UK Decorations Policy has been established to help ensure the safety of the university community. It says:

  • Combustible materials shall not be used for decorations.
  • All decorations, including Christmas trees, must bear the Underwriter (UW) label, which identifies them as flame retardant.
  • Christmas tree lights shall bear the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label for intended use.
  • Decorations shall be arranged in a manner not to obstruct exits, emergency lighting, exit signs or corridors.
  • Exterior decorations shall not be attached to a house, other than lights.
  • Do not use open flame, such as candles. Smoking is not permitted around decorations.
  • All decorations in campus building must be removed prior to holiday vacations.
  •  If a fire strikes, evacuate the building and dial 911 immediately.

Any decorations that may be hazardous or that are in violation of the policy must be removed immediately. For questions concerning decorations or their proper use, contact Beach or Greg Williamson at 257-6326.

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