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Holiday Safety

To ensure a safer holiday season follow these holiday decorating tips:

  • When buying new lights, strings of lights or other electric decorations make sure each has the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Good Housekeeping seal on it. Fixtures with the UL or Good Housekeeping seal may cost more, but they have been approved for safety.
  • Before installing electric holiday decorations, inspect all cords and lights closely. Repair or replace any frayed or bare wires, loose connections and cracked or broken sockets.
  • Make sure every socket on your strings of lights has a bulb in it, whether it lights up or not. An empty socket is an invitation to danger. A piece of metal or a twig from your tree could complete the circuit and create sparks that could result in a fire. Empty sockets are also inviting to children's fingers.
  • Don't string lights while they are plugged in.
  • Once your strings of lights are in good shape, do not plug them into outlets that are easily overloaded. If, after the lights are plugged in, a fuse or breaker shuts down the current in one or more sections of your home, you have overloaded that circuit. If this happens, remove some of the load from the circuit or plug the lights into a circuit that they will not overload.
  • Donít run electric wires in walkways. Put them where nobody can trip over them or tape them down.
  • Use flame-retardant decorations and keep paper decorations and tinsel away from hot lights.
  • Keep a portable fire extinguisher close to the tree.
  • Never put lights on an aluminum tree because aluminum is a conductor of electricity.
  • Use a sturdy stand when you set up your Christmas tree. If a decorated tree, loaded with bulbs, falls onto a hard floor, the bulbs could break and the exposed filament could ignite the tree.
  • Keep your live Christmas tree in water so it can absorb moisture and reduce hazards caused by a dry tree. Never place your tree near heat sources, including heating vents.
  • If you decorate your yard or the outside of your house, use only lights and cords labeled for outdoors.
  • When attaching lights to the outside of your house, avoid using staple guns. Use insulated staples instead and hammer them into place.
  • Always use a dry wooden ladder when installing outdoor decorations. Dry wood won't conduct an electric current.
  • Avoid overhead electrical lines when decorating outdoors.
  • Unplug all decorative lights, both inside and outside, when leaving home or going to bed.