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Keep Your Holiday Season Merry and Bright

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6815

 

Keep Your Holiday Season Merry and Bright

(Springfield, Ill.)—The holidays are an exciting time of year, but the celebrations and decorations do pose electrical safety hazards. Keep safety top of mind so that your holiday season stays merry and bright.

Electrical accidents typically increase during the holiday season. The U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission reports that during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating. In 2010, the National Fire Protection Association stated that holiday lights were involved in an average of 150 reported home structure fires per year during 2004-2008. Those fires caused an average of eight civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $8.9 million in direct property damage per year.

When decorating outside, remember the experience of Shawn Miller from Indiana. He was seriously injured when lights that he tossed into a tree made contact with overhead lines. Shawn lost his left hand and suffered numerous other injuries in the tragic accident. See his story at SafeElectricity.org.

“Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside,” Miller urges, “especially power lines and the service connection to your home. Make sure to keep yourself, ladders, and lights far away from them.” For your safety follow these additional precautions:

  • Do not hang lights when it is windy, raining, or snowing.

  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) extension cord outdoors. GFCIs cut off power instantly if there is an electrical problem, saving you from a dangerous shock.

  • Use only lights that are intended for outdoor use.

Overhead power lines pose a safety threat, but so do many of the indoor decorations we use. Remember these importance safety tips from the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity program in your celebrations:

  • Examine all lights, electronics, and appliances before use.

  • Use only UL approved lights and electronics.

  • Do not overload extension cords or string more than three strands of lights together.

  • Keep cords out of high traffic areas.

  • Pay special attention to children and pets around decorations.

Entertaining during the holiday season often involves cooking for family friends. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, over 30 percent of home fires and injuries are caused by cooking. Protect yourself from the hazards of cooking by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet.

  • Keep cooking areas empty and devoid of grease.

  • Make sure outlets near sinks are equipped with properly tested GFCIs to prevent shocks.

  • Always have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to operate it.

The Energy Education Council wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Help keep yourself, your family, and those you entertain safe. Learn more about electrical safety at SafeElectricity.org.

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The Energy Education Council is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, the Council is headquartered within the University of Illinois Extension, and serves as a forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety. Learn more at www.EnergyEdCouncil.org.

 


 

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