Christmas Light Safety Tips: Rules for the Pretty and Practical
According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data, every holiday season hospital emergency rooms treat more than 12,000 people for injuries related to holiday lights and decor, these injuries include shocks and falls. Holiday decorations are festive and beautiful, but keeping your wits and practicing common sense when it comes to Christmas light safety, will ensure that your festivities don’t go up in flames.
The first thing you need to check are the lights themselves. Make sure they have been labeled by a recognized testing lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories, before you buy them. Such a label means the lights have been tested and meet U.S. safety standards. Lights that fall below the standards set by the government are potentially unsafe. The CPSC, since it began tracking holiday lights and decor, has turned away the attempted import of more than 100,000 units of holiday lights that were unlabeled or failed to meet safety standards.
When it comes to Christmas light safety, fused plugs are important. If there is a surge or a short, the fuse will blow and cut the current to the lights, preventing sparking or even a fire. Each year, make sure that your strands of lights show no signs of frayed or bare wires. Damaged sets of lights should simply be thrown away.
If a bulb burns out, try to replace it right away and always use replacement bulbs that are the same wattage as the original. When stringing multiple strands of lights together with an extension cord, check the cord to make sure it is rated for the way you intend to use it, and never use more than three standard-length strands of lights per extension cord.
Electric lights should never be placed on a metal tree, as a faulty wire or bare strand can transfer its charge to the tree and create a hazard for severe shock, electrocution or fire.
Any lights placed outdoors should be rated for outdoor use and plugged into outlets protected with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Have a qualified electrician check out any circuits you want to use for outside lighting to make sure they are adequately protected. The professionals at Casteel will be happy to answer any questions about Christmas light safety this holiday season.
Image Sorce: Flickr