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Illuminate Your Holiday Season with Safety Don’t let the bright and colorful sparkle of the season distract you from taking the precautions that you need to stay


safe when decorating. Safe Electricity provides tips on safe holiday decorating and hopes your season will be merry, bright, and safe. For more information on electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.


Be sure to turn off all lights before leaving the home or going to sleep. A timer can help you do this.


If you are decorating with an artificial tree, make sure you choose one with fire resis- tance protection. With a real tree, make sure that the needles are green and sturdy with a trunk that is sticky with resin. These are indicators that your tree is well-hydrat- ed. Keep your tree stand filled with water so that the tree does not become overly dry and present a fire hazard.


Also make sure the lights are rated for the location in which they will be used—whether indoors or outside. Before hanging your lights, check the strands for broken bulbs as well as fraying or bare wires that could pres- ent electrical hazards. Always replace dam- aged products.


Any lights that are hung either inside or outside of the home should have a label in- dicating that they have been certified by an accredited independent testing laboratory.


Never place your tree near to heat-emitting devices, such as space heaters or radiators, which can become fire hazards.


Typically, one extension cord should only have three strands of lights connected to it at most, but you should also check that the extension cord is rated for its intended use. Never run extension cords under carpets, through doorways, or where they could be damaged by furniture.


When decorating outside, always be sure to look up and double check that you and any equipment, such as a ladder or a light strand, are a minimum 10 feet away from overhead power lines. When securing light strands, never staple or nail them into place, as this could damage the product.


Outdoor lights and decorations should be plugged into an outlet with ground fault cir- cuit interrupter protection. GFCIs are inex- pensive electrical devices that can be installed in a home’s electrical system or built into a power cord to protect against electrical shock. A GFCI constantly moni- tors the flow of electricity through a circuit and will shut the circuit down if it senses a ground fault.


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