While there are surely dozens of things on your to-do list over the next several weeks, make sure they include these top ten safety tips, courtesy of the Electrical Safety Foundation International.
- Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
- Do not overload electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time.
- Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.
- Keep Christmas trees fresh by watering daily. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.
- Use battery-operated candles. Candles start almost half of home decoration fires.
- Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources. A heat source that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations.
- Protect cords from damage. To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.
- Check decorations for certification label. Decorations not bearing a label from an Independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
- Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires.
- Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
And don’t forget your heat
As always, make sure your to-do list includes maintenance for your heating system to make sure it’s functioning properly and ready to keep your family and guests warm throughout this busy month. And above all, happy holidays from our family to yours.