It’s getting to be that time of year again!
Yeah sure, it may only be October 30th to some people, but to other’s it is the start of one of the most festive times of year. It is during the brief period between Halloween, which is tomorrow, and the New Year, which is 63 days away, when homeowners find themselves quite literally decking the halls.
Unfortunately, however, the holiday season is also one of the busiest times of year for hospital emergency rooms. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 12,500 people per year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday decorations.
In addition, the National Fire Protection Agency, warns that 380 holiday related home structure fires were the direct result of holiday lights, decorations and trees within the years of 2007 to 2011. Holiday trees accounted for 230 of these home structure fires.
So as you can see the holiday season isn’t just about decking the halls, fighting the crowds on Black Friday, or exchanging gifts; it’s also about ensuring your safety so that you and your loved ones’ can enjoy this joyous time of year; preferably without incident.
Safeguard Your Family with These Holiday Electrical Safety Tips
Before flipping the switch and lighting up the neighborhood, or just your home, make sure you have followed these simple holiday electrical safety tips. These tips will ensure you’re able to safeguard yourself, your family and your home from electrical shocks and fires.
- Thinking of using a real holiday tree? Make sure you keep it properly watered the entire time it’s inside your home. A dry tree can quickly burst into flames. Plus, a properly watered tree, will keep it looking good and smelling great while in your home.
- Whether you plan on placing holiday lights inside or out, you should always check each strand thoroughly for any damaged or frayed cords, as well as loose connections prior to installation. You should also replace any older light sets since they may no longer be up to code.
- To make sure your light sets stay in good condition, which will hopefully save you money on the expense of replacing them or their light bulbs, you should store them in a tightly sealed container when not in use (so for the other 11 months of the year).
- You should always refrain from using nails, tacks, staples, or anything of that sort when hanging your holiday lights. To prevent power shortages from affecting your décor, use insulated hooks or holders. The nice thing about this is that if you get the clear ones you can just leave them up.
- If the cords and plugs of your holiday lights are running across the ground you should elevate them by again using insulated hooks or holders. This will you help you avoid damage or shorts from wet conditions such as snow, rain and debris.
- If you must run extension cords across the ground, you may want to tape them in place to prevent anyone from accidentally tripping over them, and injuring themselves. Use a bright colored duct tape so that it is visible to anyone visiting.
- Only purchase lights that been laboratory tested. You will typically notice that these lights have a UL listing on the outside of the box. These will ensure that the lights you purchased have passed rigorous safety and performance standards.
- Always adhere to the recommended usage for your lights. So if your lights say interior use only…then only use them inside. If they say exterior use only…then only use them outside. You will find that many of the light sets on the market today are rated for both interior and exterior use.
- Always turn off your lights whenever you are sleeping (this includes on Christmas Eve) or away from home; even if it’s only for a short while.
- Overloading electrical circuits is a BIG no, no! Just don’t do it.
- Plug all outdoor lights into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. These outlets are designed to shut off the flow of power whenever a short is detected.
- Contact a professional electrical repair technician and request an annual safety inspection be completed on your home’s electrical system prior to the start of the holiday season.