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Think Electrical Safety for the Holidays

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:

Lighting safety:

  • 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.

Other reminders:

  • 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).

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