Holiday Electrical Safety Tips
Make Safety the First Item on Your List this Holiday Season
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) offers the following tips to help keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards when buying and installing holiday lighting and decorations.
More tips to help celebrate the holidays safely:
Light up safely over the holidays:
- Choose the right light for the job: light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
- Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
- Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire.
- Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets when plugging in outdoors
- Buy holiday decorations that have the mark of an accredited certification agency on the package.
- Once the package is opened, remember to check for the appropriate approval sticker appearing on the cord for products incorporating light strings.
- Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords—this can create overheating and result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip can indicate too many items are conected to the circuit.
- Never remove the third prong on plugs—this "grounding pin" prevents shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
- Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
- Don't run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or in places where they can be damaged by furniture
- Keep outdoor connections above-ground and out of puddles; don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.
- No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases—read manufacturers’ instructions for directions.
- Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
- Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
- Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when you're hanging lights or decorations on trees.
- Holiday decorations aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.
- Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
- Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
- Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.
Case Study: Holiday Lighting Left Unattended
To learn more about this incident, click here.