With the holidays just around the corner, many homeowners are festively decorating their homes to spread holiday cheer. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) encourages families to learn about electrical safety and take simple precautions to ensure a safe holiday. The following guidelines are designed to help families to identify and avoid electrical safety hazards.
- Inspect each decoration before plugging into an outlet. Cracked, frayed, or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious electric shock or start a fire.
- Do not staple or nail through light strings or extension cords. This could damage the wire or insulation and cause electrical shock or fire. Use only insulated staples to hold light strings in place, not nails or tacks.
- Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas.
- Prevent shock by plugging outdoor decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause fires.
- Be careful when mounting or hanging light strands so as not to damage the cord's insulation.
- Use only lights and electrical decorations that have been certified by a recognized independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Intertek (ETL).
- Before using electrical products outdoors, make sure the product is approved and marked "for outdoor use."
- Turn holiday lights and other decorations off when you leave, or go to bed.
- Be sure to always have at least one fire extinguisher available, and know how to use it.
In addition to the tips above, it's important to remember the Association’s Rules and Regulations regarding holiday decorations:
- Seasonal holiday decorations may be placed on the property two weeks prior to the holiday and must be removed within one week following the holiday.
- Decorations for the end of the year holidays may be placed on the property no earlier than the fourth Thursday of November and must be removed no later than January 15 of the following calendar year.