Did you know that, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), holiday decorations started 1,170 residential fires, killing eight people and injuring another 54 from 2004 to 2008? Staying safe this holiday season, and throughout the year, depends on being mindful of electrical hazards. Frayed or damaged wiring, cracked sockets, and loose connections pose risks of electrocution and electrical fires. What important safety tips can keep homeowners safe during the holidays and year-round?
Holiday Safety Tips
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) fires and serious accidents associated with Christmas trees result in $10 million worth of property damage per year. Stay safe while stringing up the lights and decorating your Christmas tree with these simple tips:
- Don’t let cords drag on the floor. According to ESFI, electrical hazards, including shorts, shock, and fire, can be avoided by making sure that cables stay intact and untangled. In other words, wire management is even more critical during the holiday season. Prevent damage by keeping wires up, and off the floor. Inspect lights and decorations before putting them up, and discard any damaged merchandise.
- Never exceed three sets of standard lights per extension cord.
- Consider replacing old sets with newer, LED lights. LED lights consume less energy and are much less likely to overheat.
- Read manufacturer’s safety instructions. Most decorations and holiday lights come wit a set of installation and care instructions. Always read them carefully.
Important Strategies for Year-Round Electrical Safety
Limiting accidents and electrical hazards year-round depends on a number of different factors. First, always keep doorways clear and accessible; this can save lives in the event of an electrical or standard house fire. Homeowners can open up narrow doorways, and even make them handicap accessible, using concealed hinges. Concealed hinges add extra width to doorways, without adding unsightly metal hinges. Threaded standoffs, including plastic standoffs, should used in electrical equipment such as computers. This will significantly reduce risks of shorts and serious electrical injuries.
Electrical safety, throughout the year and during the holiday season, requires a certain amount of precaution and care. Keep the holidays safe by carefully reading manufacturer’s instructions and inspecting old decorations and light strands. Use concealed hinges to keep your home accessible in the event of an emergency. Ger more information on this topic here.