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Christmas Light Safety

Christmas Light Safety

Dec 12, 2013

Don’t flip the switch to show off your dazzling Christmas lights before you take a quick look at these safety tips that have been compiled from several official sources.  Don’t take a chance on cutting corners because you are risking damage to your family, roof and house.  It won’t take long and is so well worth taking the extra precautions.

– 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.  Using 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 your 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.

– Do not put fasteners through roofing or siding materials.

– 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.   The season is a time of joy – not spent putting out fires.

Happy Holidays!



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