Electrical Safety Tips for the Holiday Season
Holidays are an occasion of festive cheer as well as a time to avoid getting zapped by electrical hazards in the home. According to national statistics, the incidence of injuries and even deaths due to electrical accidents (including electrical-related home fires) increases substantially during holiday season. This is largely due to the increased use of electrical decorations and other temporary components. Avoid getting zapped (it’s definitely not a holiday spirit booster) and even more serious incidents by considering these 10 common sense safety suggestions.
- When installing outdoor electric decorations, make sure they’re all plugged into circuits that incorporate Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter protection to prevent electric shock.
- Inspect all lights and other decorations before use. Also check each extension cord that will be utilized for any signs of wear.
- Make sure extension cords are correctly rated for the intended use. Do not use indoor extension cords in an outdoor environment.
- If you’re decorating outdoors, don’t allow the decorations, ladder, extension cord, or your own body to be any closer than 10 feet to existing power lines. Maintain extreme caution while you are in their vicinity.
- Don’t leave electrical decorations turned on when you leave the house or go to bed.
- Do not overload wall outlets or circuits with too many decorations or other electrical components. Overloading causes heat which can melt insulation and lead to a shock hazard and/or a fire.
- Excessive number of incandescent lights can draw excessive amperage that may overheat wiring. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights together.
- Some inexpensive imported decorations (particularly LED light strings and other holiday electronics) may not be manufactured to safety standards recognized in this country. Don’t save money by purchasing electrical decorations that could pose a shock or fire hazard. Shop for products that have been approved by recognized safety testing labs such as Underwriter’s Laboratory, Intertek, or Canadian Standards Association.