According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), more than 3,000 electrical fires are caused by extension cords each year, resulting in 50 deaths and 270 injuries. With the Holiday decorating season fast approaching we want our friends and family to be safe and sound.
Here is a list of tips from ESFI to make our homes as safe as possible this holiday season.
✦ Before decorating, read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions concerning installation and maintenance of all decorative electrical products.
✦ Indoors and out, use lights and other electrical decorations certified by a recognized independent testing laboratory such as CSA, UL, or ETL.
✦ Outdoors, use lights and other electrical decorations certified for outdoor use.
✦ Carefully inspect each decoration before plugging into an outlet. Cracked, frayed, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Always replace any damaged items.
✦ Always unplug an electrical decoration before replacing light bulbs or fuses, or before leaving the house or going to bed.
✦ Don’t mount or support light strings in any way that might damage the cord’s insulation. Never nail or staple light strings or extension cords.
✦ Don’t overload extension cords – they can overheat and start a fire.
✦ Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water and well-protected from weather.
✦ Use caution when decorating near power lines. Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
✦ Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
✦ Plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Portable GFCIs can be purchased wherever electrical supplies are sold.