Lighting up the Christmas tree and the neighborhood certainly add to the joy and festivity of the season. The San Luis Obispo electricians from Electricraft, Inc. want everyone to keep safety first in mind when lighting the tree, hanging decorations, or cooking the holiday meal.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 940 fires per year that started with decorations and Christmas trees with a combined $22 million in property damage. The NFPA further reports, “Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 44% of home Christmas tree fires,” and that Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are just behind Thanksgiving for the peak days for home cooking fires.
Several other national safety organizations report an increase in emergency room visits due to people falling over the holidays and most of the falls are associated with decorations or tripping over extension cords.
The San Luis Obispo electricians have compiled the following safety tips to help keep everyone safe:
- Check every set of lights for damaged sockets, loose connections, or frayed or bare wires. Discard all damaged cords.
- Don’t plug in the lights until the installation and adjustments are finished.
- Use only lights that have been tested for safety and have the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
- Keep light bulbs off of direct contact with tree needles, branches, and electric cords. Use a clip or twist-tie to keep bulbs in safe positions.
- Watch young children and pets around lights and decorations.
- Unplug tree lights and decorative outdoor lighting before leaving the house or going to bed.
- If you buy an artificial tree, check for a “flame resistant” label.
- If you use a real tree, keep water in the basin.
- Buy LED holiday lights. They last longer and don’t get hot to the touch, making them a lot safer.
- Don’t overload outlets or extension cords. One of the leading causes of kitchen fires during the holidays is improper use of extension cords.
- Keep electrical cords out of the water and away from metal objects.
- To hook up your outdoor lighting, use a three-prong grounded extension cord with the UL label.
- If you need a ladder to install your holiday lights, be sure to use a ladder made of a non-conductive material, like fiberglass or wood.
- Uncoil extension cords completely before using, and be sure to place them away from heat sources and bulbs.
- Never place cords under rugs and doors or through windows where they might be pinched or become worn.
Holiday lights demand a lot of electricity, especially if they will be kept on for more than an hour at a time. If you have not had your electrical system checked in the past year, now is the time. Be sure that your electrical outlets can handle the additional load without putting loved ones at risk.
The experienced San Luis Obispo electricians at Electricraft are happy to inspect your electrical components to ensure you are safe to light up your home with holiday decorations. Contact Electricraft today.