On the first day of Christmas, Oakdale Electric Cooperative gave to me: 12 tips on holiday decorating safety!
12 Outlet Safety Caps
Cover any unused electrical outlets with plastic safety caps to prevent electrical shock.
11 Battery-Operated Candles
Candles start one-third of home decoration fires [National Fire Protection Association]. Keep it merry, bright, and safe by using battery-operated candles.
10 Feet of Space
Be especially careful when decorating near power lines. Keep ladders, equipment, and yourself at least 10 feet away for safety.
9 Light Clips
Avoid using staples, nails or screws to fasten lights and decorations to the house or to nearby trees as they can puncture the wires, causing the lights to malfunction, or worse, cause electrical shock. Instead, opt to use lights clips to secure safely.
8 Hours of Darkness
Turn off all indoor and outdoor holiday lighting before leaving the house or going to bed. Automatic timers are available for both indoor and outdoor applications.
7 Days a Week of Watering
Water a real Christmas tree daily. [When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label fire-resistant.]
6 Properly Marked Extension Cords
Extension cords are specifically marked for indoor or outdoor use, and are not interchangeable. Use the right cord for the right location.
5 GFCI Protected Outlets
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 each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory. Repair them before using or RECYCLE at the Co-op this year! Read more on page 18 about our free Christmas Lights Recycling Program!
3 Strands Per Outlet
Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together, and consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights. LED lights also last up to 25 times longer and use 75 percent less electricity.
2 Types of Ladders
Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity and could be hazardous.
1 Well-Sealed Container
When the holiday season is over, store all outdoor and indoor lights in a well-sealed container to prevent water damage and rodent access.