As store shelves fill up with holiday lights and decorations, families and friends are preparing to celebrate the festive season.
And as they get together to celebrate, Southern California Edison (SCE) has a simple message: don’t let potential fire hazards such as frayed cords and unsafe conditions like broken lights ruin the festivities.
“During the holiday season, it’s easy to get distracted with all the things you need to prepare around your home for your family and guests. Taking short cuts may seem to save time, but it’s important not to rush and be safe,” said William Messner, SCE’s manager, Corporate Health and Safety. “We want all our customers to enjoy the holidays, so we urge them to be aware of potential risks associated with decorating such as falling off ladders, fires and electrical hazards.”
Close to 83 percent of people decorate their homes as part of the winter holidays, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. And the most common winter holiday decorations are lighted Christmas trees (83 percent), indoor decorations using electric lights (63 percent) and outdoor light decorations (58 percent).From 2005-2009, an annual average of 240 home fires started with Christmas trees, resulting in 13 deaths, 27 injuries, and $16.7 million in property damage. About 5,800 people each year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these injuries were caused by falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors. During this holiday season, SCE has a few helpful tips:
- Do not use decorative lighting with frayed cords and wires, broken fuses or broken light bulbs.
- Do not use staples, nails or tacks to hang electrical cords. These can pierce the protective insulation.
- Plug no more than three strands of lights into each electrical cord or outlet.
- Never use lighted candles on or near holiday trees or decorations.
- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
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