12 Days of Holiday Electrical Safety Tips

SCE lights the way to a safe and festive holiday season while decorating your home.

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration and festive decorations. But as you deck the halls, it is important to keep electrical safety in mind. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 44% of home Christmas tree fires involve electrical cords, overloaded outlets or damaged lighting. In recent years, the number of home fires caused by Christmas trees dropped by more than half. However, that number has increased again.

In the spirit of the season, here are 12 tips to help you stay safe while decorating for the holidays:

  1. Inspect your decorations before use. Check for frayed wires, broken bulbs or other damage that could cause a fire or electrical shock.
  2. Use decorations certified by a recognized safety testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL.
  3. Don’t overload electrical outlets. Use a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker to prevent overloading.
  4. Keep decorations away from heat sources, such as candles, fireplaces and heaters.
  5. Turn off all decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.
  6. Use outdoor decorations that are specifically designed for outdoor use. Indoor decorations are not built to withstand the elements and could be a fire hazard.
  7. Use only outdoor-rated extension cords for outdoor decorations. Indoor extension cords are not weather-resistant and could cause a short circuit or shock hazard.
  8. Don’t staple or nail decorations to your home’s exterior. This could damage the wiring and create a fire hazard.
  9. Keep your Christmas tree hydrated by watering it regularly. A dry tree is more likely to catch fire.
  10. Don’t connect more than three light strands. Joining too many strands could cause a fire or overload the circuit.
  11. Consider using LED lights instead of traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lights use less electricity and generate less heat, reducing fire risk. They also last longer and are more durable than incandescent bulbs.
  12. Avoid using electrical decorations near water sources or wet areas, such as swimming pools, sprinklers or fountains. Water can conduct electricity and increase the risk of electrical shock or fire.

By following these 12 tips and using common sense, you can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season with loved ones, knowing that your home is safely decorated with festive cheer.

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