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HomeLatest NewsState NewsDepartment of Health Shares Life Safety Reminders for Holiday Decorations

Department of Health Shares Life Safety Reminders for Holiday Decorations

​On November 29, the South Dakota Department of Health sent a memo to healthcare administrators with guidelines on the use of Christmas trees and decorations during the holiday season.
The Life Safety Code (Section 19.7.5.6) considers Christmas trees to be a highly flammable decoration. The South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification, will allow the use of live trees and décor in health care facilities with the following precautions:

  • Live trees must be flocked with a fire retardant.
  • A staff person must be designated to water the tree.
  • Trees should be limited to one per building.
  • Live trees may be in the building only between the dates of December 9, 2022, and January 1, 2023.
  • The tree must be located in a room that can be closed off from corridors, e.g., a dining room or lounge, and closely supervised by staff.
  • The tree should be located near sprinkler heads or smoke detectors, if possible.
  • No lights are allowed on flocked or metal trees. If lighting is desired, indirect flood lights may be used. Lights may be used on UL listed plastic trees in accordance with manufacturer’s directions. Lights on trees should be unplugged at night. All lights used on trees must be UL listed.
  • The use of small trees with fiber optic lights is acceptable but check for a UL listing mark on the device.
  • Lights may be installed on the exterior of the building and on outside trees and shrubs. Exterior lighting circuits must have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection.
  • Wrapping paper and plastic film is very combustible and must not be used to decorate doors and wall surfaces.
  • The use of live greens, including wreaths made from live greens, for decoration inside the building is prohibited.

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