Friday, December 12th, 2014 - Post by Pond1920

Don’t flip the switch to show off your dazzling Christmas lights before you take a quick look at these safety tips. Don’t cut corners — you are risking damage to your family, roof and house.

  • Before hanging the first light, check them carefully for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
  • A combination of shorts in electrical lights together with a dry tree, could burn your house down. Check the lights before hanging them up, and make sure your tree is watered each day.
  • Get rid of your old lights that have no fused plugs. Use of the new safer plugs will prevent sparks in the event of a short circuit.
  • Replace burned out bulbs quickly, and make sure you use the correct replacement wattage.
  • Make sure that outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks.
  • Frequently check extension cords to make sure they are not overheating. By touch test, you can gauge whether they are too hot. If they are hot, unplug.
  • Use insulated hooks instead of tacks, nails or screws to hang lights. You want to make sure you do not pierce the cable and get electrified.
  • If you are running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to keep snow, water and debris out of the connectors.
  • Check to make sure lights have been rated by a testing laboratory. You can check the list of federally recognized labs on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s web site.
  • Tape the extension cords down to prevent people from tripping over them.
  • Make sure you use outdoor lights outside; indoor lights have thinner insulation, which can become cracked and damaged when exposed to the weather elements.
  • Don’t leave your lights on when you are not at home or when you go to sleep.
  • Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  • When packing up your lights at the end of the season, make sure to store them in well-sealed containers to prevent possible water damage. It’s also a good time to check out the condition of the cords and bulbs to get a jump on next year’s decorating. Chances are you could get replacements on sale.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there has been a significant rise in fires caused by Christmas decorations. This is a season of joy – don’t spend it putting out fires. Happy Holidays.

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