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Decorating Safely

Decorating Safely for Parties and Holidays

  • Use decorations made only from non-flammable material, or treated with a flame-retardant solution or process that has been approved by the State Fire Marshal.
  • Do not allow decorations to obstruct or conceal (in whole or even in part) emergency routes, signs, or devices—for instance, exits, exit lights, fire alarm pull boxes, fire hose cabinets, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads, and smoke detectors.
  • Do not decorate the corridor or your door with wrapping paper.
  • You can buy fire retardant solution from the Stanford Fire Marshal’s Office by calling 723-5099 or 724-7818.

Holiday Trees

  • Purchase only natural trees that have been treated with a flame retardant. Approved tree lots, which are licensed by the State Fire Marshal’s office for flame-retardant application, include
    • Kiwanis Club, Stanford Stadium, Stanford
    • Barron Park Nursery, 3876 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
    • Grandpa’s Christmas Trees, 2780 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
  • Keep all holiday trees—natural and artificial—out of corridors and away from doorways and heat sources.
  • Do not remove the tag that proves the tree has been treated with a flame-retardant chemical. The tag must include the name and registration number of the chemical used, the name of the applicator, and the date of treatment.
  • Keep cut natural trees in water at all times to slow the natural drying process.


UL logo

  • Use only lights that bear the Underwriters Laboratory
  • (UL) seal of approval.
  • Do not use lights with loose sockets or frayed or damaged wires.
  • Do not run wiring through doorways, under carpeting,
  • or through holes in walls.
  • Never plug one extension cord into another; use a multiple-outlet power strip with an internal circuit breaker.
  • Always turn the holiday lights off when you leave the building.
  • Never wrap decorative rope lights or holiday lights around exposed sprinkler pipes.
  • Dispose of all decorations, trees, and wrappings immediately after the holidays by taking them to campus recycling/dumpster areas.

Holiday fire safety information