By Maria Willacy Idaho Power Communications Specialist
With the busy holiday season full of gift shopping and gatherings, don’t forget about safety — hundreds of fires occur each year from holiday decorations alone. Use this checklist to keep you and your family safe:
- Use LED lights, which are more efficient and safer than incandescent bulbs because they produce less heat.
- When hanging holiday lights using a ladder, have a spotter and always maintain three points of contact.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct number of light strands to connect.
- Inspect power/extension cords and light strings, and replace anything that’s damaged or frayed.
- Don’t place cords where they can be damaged by walking on them, where people can trip on them or where damage can go unnoticed — like under rugs, through windows or on the sidewalk.
- Don’t overload outlets or power strips, and don’t plug electric heaters into power strips.
- Plug outdoor lights (rated for outdoor use) into ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected outlets.
- Instead of candles, use LED flameless candles to reduce the risk of fire.
- Test your fire alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors and ensure any fire extinguishers have not expired. Also, make sure you know how to use them!
- Use appliances with the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) label. The UL seal ensures the product has been tested.
- If you have a real Christmas tree, water it daily and keep it at least three feet away from heat sources (like fireplaces).