Holiday Decorating Safety

 

Indoor Lights and Electrical Decor

  • Always purchase electrical decorations and lights from reputable retailers.
  • Use lights approved for safe use by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.
  • Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
  • Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available and where they are located. Plan your displays accordingly.
  • Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices.  They can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Make sure that cords are not pinched in doors, windows, or under heavy furniture, which could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.

Outdoor Decorations

  • Make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations used for outdoor decorating are marked for outdoor use.
  • Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If circuits are not GFCI-protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold and require no special knowledge or equipment to install.
  • Inspect all lights, decorations, and extension cords for damage before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
  • Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather, and a safe distance from flammable items.
  • Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Use the right ladder height, ensuring ladders extend at least three feet past the edge of the roof.
  • Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.