Keeping the holidays safe

The holiday season is special because it’s a time when families and friends gather to share meals, gifts, love and laughter. But the season also comes with the need to take extra precautions so that the holidays don’t turn tragic. 

Holiday lighting and decor help add to the festive atmosphere and brighten up cold winter nights, but they require some extra care. 

  • When you pull your holiday lights out of storage each year, be sure to check the cords and plugs for any cracks or other damage. If there are any bare or frayed wires, discard the entire cord. Damaged wires create a significant hazard for electric shock and fires. 
  • Make sure all your lights work, and connect the strands before stringing them on your tree, house or elsewhere. Don’t adjust the strings while plugged in once they are in place. Also make sure they have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (look for a UL label). 
  • If you are using lights outdoors, make sure they are rated for outdoor use. Use a three-prong, grounded extension cord to connect them. Two-prong extension cords are for indoor use only; never use them outdoors. 
  • Do not leave lights on and plugged in when you go to sleep or leave home. 
  • LED lights are a better option because of their longevity as well as the fact they burn much cooler than other types of lights. Make sure the bulbs are not resting directly on tree branches or other surfaces. 
  • If you have a live tree, be sure to keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out and become an increased risk for fire. If you choose an artificial tree, make sure it is rated as flame-resistant. 
  • If you have pets or small children, make sure cords and easily ingestible decorations are out of their reach. 
  • Do not place cords under rugs or doors, and don’t run them through windows.  
  • Do not overload outlets or circuits.  

By adhering to these safety tips, you’ll help ensure your holiday season is as safe as it is festive. 

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