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Light Up the Holidays this Year with these Electrical Tips

With the holidays upon us, it is time to start decorating your building with lights, wreaths and other decorations to display during this time of year. Typically, decorating for the holidays includes the use of lights. Keep these electrical safety tips in mind when decorating your building for the holidays.

  • Indoors or outdoors, only use lights that have been certified by a nationally recognized testing lab, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • Check each set of lights you plan to use, regardless of age, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard or repair any damaged sets prior to using them.
  • Securely fasten any outdoor lighting to trees, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when the building is unoccupied. Lights can short and start fires.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted. To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto it.

Extension Cords

The use of extension cords for holiday lighting is a common practice. The following safety guidelines should be followed when using extension cords.

  • Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis.
  • Don’t overload your extension cords. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Never cut off the ground pin to connect a three-prong appliance cord to a two-wire extension cord or receptacle. Use only three-wire extension cords for appliances with three-prong plugs.
  • If an extension cord’s insulation has been damaged, remove the cord from service. Never try to repair a damaged extension cord with electrical tape.
  • Extension cords should never be nailed down, stapled, run through walls, under rugs or across doorways.
  • Avoid placing cords where someone could accidentally trip over them.
  • Never use an extension cord while it is coiled, looped or tied in a knot.
  • Never place an extension cord where it is likely to be damaged by heavy furniture or foot traffic.
  • Outside, use extension cords rated for outdoor use.
  • Under no circumstances should one power strip be plugged into another power strip, also known as daisy chaining. If the electrical demand gets to that point, it is definitely time to call an electrician.
  • Multiple adapters allow for plugging in several lights at once. This can cause overloading and overheating of the circuit. Multiple adapters are not recommended for use.

Light up your facility safely this holiday season by following the tips above. A happy holiday is a safe holiday.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.