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Winter Safety Tips
Holiday decorations help make the season bright, but they can be hazardous if they aren’t safely handled. Did you know that nearly half of home fires occur during the months of December, January, and February? About 210 home fires a year are caused by Christmas trees, which can pose a fire risk whether they are real – especially if they are dry – or artificial. Christmas tree lights, outdoor holiday lights, and other electric holiday decorations account for 25 percent of holiday fires. Keep your home and family safe during and after this holiday season with these tips.
  • Never leave electrical holiday decorations on while sleeping or away from home. Blow out candles before going to sleep or leaving the house.
  • Decorations are temporary; remove them after the holidays.
  • Surge protectors can prevent 50 percent of home electrical fires.
  • Inspect and dispose of any damaged decorations.
  • Separate and label indoor and outdoor decorations.
  • Store decorations in a dry location that is safely out of reach of children and pets.
  • Water your Christmas tree to reduce the risk of it catching fire
To light your Christmas tree and decorations, you may need to use an extension cord, but an extension cord that isn’t used properly is dangerous. Extension cords cause nearly 3,300 home fires each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when used improperly, so keep these important tips in mind to protect your home and workplace.
  • Don’t attempt to plug extension cords into one another.
  • Make sure extension cords are properly rated for their intended use, indoor or outdoor, and meet or exceed the power needs of the appliance of device being used.
  • Do not overload extension cords.
  • Inspect cords for damage before use. Check for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections.
  • Do not run cords through walls, doorways, ceilings, or floors. If the cord is covered, heat cannot escape, which may result in a fire hazard.
  • Only buy cords that have been approved by an independent testing laboratory.
  • Keep all outdoor extension cords clear of snow and standing water.
  • A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have additional outlets installed where you need them.
  • Do not nail or staple electrical cords to walls or baseboards.
  • Never use three-prong plugs with outlets that only have two slots. Never cut off the ground pin to force a fit, which could lead to electric shock.
  • Do not substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.