As you decorate for the holidays, keep safety first and foremost in your plans. Follow these important safety and energy-saving tips as you light up the season.
"Respect electricity at all times," said Sally Graham, Entergy Arkansas, Inc. spokeswoman. "If you're putting up outdoor lights, stay away from overhead power lines and the line that brings service to your home.
"Use a fiberglass or wooden ladder that doesn't conduct electricity, and never, ever replace bulbs when the electricity is on."
When outdoors, also make sure that the lights used are designated for outdoor use and keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes. For outside use, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.
Always inspect your lights before you use them - if the cords are worn or frayed, throw them away. Make sure the lights have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory.
"Always make sure all of the light sockets have bulbs in them," said Graham. "Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets."
"Better yet, for greater efficiency and safety, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights," she added. "LED bulbs use up to 90 percent less energy than a traditional bulb to produce the same amount of light."
Whichever type of lights you choose, be especially careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or even whole circuits in the house.
One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. That's according to the National Fire Protection Association, which notes that while Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they have a higher chance to be deadly. This NFPA demonstration shows how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly.
"A heat source close to the tree causes one in every five of the fires," said Graham. "Other causes are candles, electrical malfunctions and decorative lights."
When decorating with live trees, keep your family safe by following these tips:
- If using a live tree, make sure it is fresh and green, with needles that are hard to pull from the branches.
- Place the tree in a stand with water, well away from heaters or the fireplace. Check water daily.
- Keep bulbs from touching tree branches. Never burn candles on or near the tree and never use flammable decorations.
- Never use lights on a metallic tree. If the lights become faulty, the entire tree could be electrified.
To see a helpful diagram with safety tips, download the attachment below.