Holiday lighting and decorations contribute to the splendor of the season but they can also significantly increase the risk of fires and electrical injuries if not used safely. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFi) has put together a comprehensive list of holiday lighting and decoration safety tips and resources. You can view the complete list at www.esfi.org.
Keep holiday safety a tradition in your home. Wrap up the season with these safety tips:
- Holiday decorations are meant for temporary use.
- Leaving your decorations up for extended periods leaves wires unnecessarily exposed to the elements, which can decrease the product's shelf life and increase the risk of electrical hazards.
- With time, trees continue to dry out making them increasingly flammable.
- Trees decorated with holiday lights have an increased risk because they're in direct contact with an electrical source.
- Check with your local community to find a recycling program through which to dispose of your tree early in the New Year.
- Carefully remove decorations, inspect them and secure them safely
- Always unplug decorations by using the gripping area. Pulling on the cord could damage the wire and present a shock or fire hazard.
- As you take down holiday lights, inspect the wiring and discard any that have cracked, frayed, or appear to have damaged wire insulation.
- Make sure to label or store indoor decorations separate from those intended for outdoor use.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry area that is not accessible by children or pets.