Bright Ideas for a Safe Season
Sparkling lights and dazzling decorations are hallmarks of the season. Make sure your holiday decorating is done with safety in mind.
Use only holiday lights that have been safety tested and have the UL label. Before decorating, check each light strand for broken sockets, frayed cords, or faulty plugs. Always be sure to unplug the lights when
replacing a bulb. Don’t string together more than three standard-size sets of lights or you could risk overheating the circuit.
Outdoors, use only lights, cords, animated displays and decorations rated for outdoor use. Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with GFCI’s. Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don’t have them.
Take extra care not to throw strings of lights over tree branches that are near power lines and service connections.
Safe Electricity offers these additional tips for safe holiday decorating:
- Place fresh-cut trees away from heat sources—such as heat registers, fireplaces, radiators, and televisions—and water the tree frequently.
- Match plugs with outlets. Don’t force a 3-pronged plug into a 2-pronged outlet or extension cord, or remove the third prong.
- Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas. Do not run them through doorways, hide them under carpets, or staple, nail, or tack them to the wall.
- Always unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
- Make sure extension cords are in good condition and are UL-approved cords rated to carry the electrical load you will connect to them.
- Don’t let children or pets play with light strands for electrical decorations.
Overloaded circuits are a major cause of fire. Flickering or dimming lights, sparks from appliances or outlets, and wall plates, plugs, or cords that are warm to the touch are warning signs that demand immediate action.
If you spot an electrical danger, make sure to unplug the malfunctioning appliance immediately and get a replacement.
Holiday cooking and entertaining should also be undertaken with safety in mind. More than 30 percent of home fires and injuries are caused by cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Follow these tips to avoid shocks or fires:
- Inspect all small appliances and electric cords to make sure they are in good repair before using. Don’t use appliances with cracked or frayed cords.
- Read the operating instructions of any appliance before use.
- When purchasing new kitchen appliances, look for UL-Listed appliances with automatic shut-off features.
- Never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet.
- Keep cooking areas empty and devoid of grease.
- Stay focused and attentive to baking, brewing, and simmering foods.
- Make sure outlets near sinks are equipped with properly tested ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) to prevent shocks.
- Always have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to operate it.
Safe Electricity wishes you and yours a bright, safe holiday season!