Unwrapping Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are here! While you’re celebrating with family and friends, it’s also important to keep some safety tips in mind.

Those holiday decorations that light up our lives are also responsible for up to 860 home fires each year. Here are the top 10 ways to make things bright – while keeping you safe – this season.

  1. Never overload electrical outlets.
    Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage into each outlet at a time.
  2. Inspect all electrical decorations for damage before use.
    Cracked or damaged sockets, loose/ bare wires or loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  3. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights.
    More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.
  4. Check decorations for certification label.
    Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
  5. One extension cord at a time.
    If adding additional lighting, never extend the length of an extension cord by connecting it with another extension cord.
  6. Use battery-operated candles.
    Candles start almost half of home decoration fires.
  7. Keep combustibles, including trees, at least three feet from heat sources.
    A heat source that is too close to the decoration is a factor in half of home fires that begin with decorations.
  8. Protect electrical cords from damage.
    To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors and windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.
  9. Turn off, unplug and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.
    Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11pm and 7am.
  10. Be careful around kids.
    Never let children or pets play with lights, electrical decorations or cords.

Sources: Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Brooke Houston, Lead Writer, PSE&G

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