Guidelines for Electrical Safety during the Holidays

Guidelines for Electrical Safety during the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to get together and celebrate with family and friends. The holidays bring lots of joy and cheer, but they also bring many safety hazards. To help keep you and your family safe, follow these guidelines for electrical safety during the holidays:

Take care of electrical and extension cords
Electrical failure can often cause fires in your home. Home electrical and lighting systems are the fourth leading cause of home fires. Take some preventative measures while enjoying all your holiday decorating traditions. Plan ahead on how you want to decorate so that you don't overload electrical outlets (which can overheat and cause a fire). Use indoor cords for inside the home and outdoor cords for outside. The insulation that wraps around electrical and extension cords protects the wires inside, so don't bend them around wall corners and furniture or puncture nails through them. These cords can get hot, so don't put them under rugs. Outdoor lights and decorations should only be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters which protect you from electric shocks. Keep extension cords away from snow and standing water. If you use outdoor spotlights, make sure they're well-ventilated and protected from rain, snow, and wind.

Decorate with safety in mind
Decorative lights are beautiful and festive additions to the inside and outside of your home. You can make your home festive and safe with a few procedures. When hanging decorations and lights, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder because electricity can pass through a metal one. This year, consider purchasing LED lights, which run cooler and use lesser energy than the traditional incandescent ones. Ever tried embellishing your beautiful Christmas tree with LED lights? Christmas trees can get dry and catch on fire easily, so these lights can give you peace of mind on that front, apart from the fact that they look just as great as the conventional ones. Don't connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together because they could blow a fuse or start a fire. Remember to turn off any lights or electrical decorations when you leave your house or go to sleep at night.

Stay safe and warm
Home heating equipment can keep you and your family nice and warm during your holiday celebrations, but they should always be used with caution. Half of all home heating fires happen in December, January, and February. Electrical heating equipment like space heaters should be kept at least three feet away from flammable fabric like furniture, mattresses, clothing, and blankets. Space heaters and other portable heating equipment should be plugged in directly into an outlet, not with an extension cord.

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Happy Holidays!