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'Twas the Season and Now It's Time for Electrical Safety

Southern California Edison offers tips and a timetable for removing holiday decorations.

It’s the ribbon that wraps up every holiday season – taking down the decorations. While it may be tempting to delay the task, by the end of the first week of January, trees, decorations and lights should be a pleasant memory of 2022, safely removed, inspected and stored for another year.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International reports nearly half of all home fires occur during December, January and February, and 25% of holiday fires are caused by decorations. Southern California Edison and ESFI offer these tips for safe holiday decoration removal:

  • Dispose of your Christmas tree early in the new year. Live trees dry out with time, making them more flammable.
  • Remember to unplug the cords when taking down your holiday decorations using the gripping area on the plug. Pulling on the cord itself can damage the wire and increase the risk of electrical hazards.
  • Inspect your holiday decorations and dispose of any with frayed or exposed wiring. Follow the manufacturer's and your city’s directions for safely disposing of worn or broken lights and decorations.
  • Be sure to label and store outdoor and indoor decorations separately, so you won’t get them mixed up next year.
  • Keep electrical holiday decorations in a dry area and out of reach of pets and children.
  • If you have an older home, consider hiring a qualified electrician to install Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, which can help prevent 50% of home fires.
  • When using ladders to remove decorations near electrical conductors or equipment, only use ones with nonconductive side rails. Always follow the rules of ladder safety

Once you have successfully and safely removed your decorations, visit sce.com/safety/family for more home electricity safety tips.