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.
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.