Holiday Safety Tips for Home Decorating, Cooking and Lighting

This week rings in a season of spending time with friends and family, shopping, gift-giving, decorating, baking, and cooking. Safe Electricity offers tips to help ensure that this busy and festive time remains a safe one.

Holiday entertaining often involves cooking for family and friends. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. From 2007-2011, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home structure fires, and unattended cooking was by far the leading factor in these fires:

-Stay focused and attentive to baking, brewing, and simmering foods.
-Keep cooking areas clean and clear of grease.
-Never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet.
-Make sure outlets near sinks are equipped with properly tested ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). GFCIs cut off power instantly if there is an electrical problem, saving you from a dangerous shock.
-Always have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to operate it.

Your home may see increased traffic over the holidays, including children and pets. Make sure all electric cords are out of high-traffic pathways and areas. Do not run cords through doorways; staple, nail, or tack them to the wall; or hide them under rugs or carpets. Do not let children or pets play with light strands or electrical decorations.

One way that many kick off the holiday season is with decorating the home. When decorating indoors:

-Inspect all the lights you plan on using before you start decorating. Make sure the wires are in good condition--not cracked, brittle, or frayed. The sockets should not be damaged, and no light bulbs should be missing.
-Replace damaged strings, and be sure to unplug the lights before replacing a bulb.
-Use only holiday lights that have been safety tested and certified by an approved laboratory.
-Do not overload extension cords or outlets. Electric overloads can cause shocks and start fires.
-Always turn off or unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home. A timer can help you make sure this happens.

For your safety follow these additional precautions:
-Do not hang lights when it is windy, raining, or snowing.
-Use properly tested GFCI outlets or extension cords to prevent shocks.
-Use only lights that are certified by an approved laboratory and rated for outdoor use.


Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.