As the holidays approach, many of us will be using lights and other electrical devices to decorate our homes. As we do this, we need to be mindful of the dangers that are always present when electricity is being used.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), each year hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,000 people for injuries related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees. In addition, dried out Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires annually.
Using some common sense and following these suggested electrical tips will help keep you and yours safe this holiday season:
1) Use only UL Listed Equipment and read labels and directions to be sure you are using the equipment as intended e.g. some lights should not be used outdoors.
2) Make sure your tree is fresh and well watered. Discard when it starts to dry out. Do not use light sets on metal trees.
3) Inspect each string of lights carefully. If any are cracked or damaged, buy new ones.
4) Do not use damaged cords and protect them from damage.
5) Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
6) Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
7) Do not overload circuits. Many outlets may be on the same circuit. This is done for convenience and does not mean that you can use every outlet at the same time.
8) Light bulbs should not exceed the recommended wattage for the applicable fixture or equipment.
9) Do not put electrical cords under rugs or other areas where people may walk over them and possibly damage the cord insulation.
10) Plug all outside electrical decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s).
Belco Electric offers a safety survey of your home as part of our Priority One Maintenance Program. Check it out at Special Offers.