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FirstEnergy Encourages Safety This Holiday Season

AKRON, Ohio, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) utilities are urging customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and New Jersey to make a list and check it twice to ensure their outdoor and indoor holiday lights and decorations are installed safely.  Customers also should review electrical safety practices for space heaters and other appliances used during the holidays and winter months to help ensure a happy, and most importantly, safe winter.

Outdoors

  • Don't use a ladder anywhere near overhead wires.  Please be sure to place any ladder on level ground.
  • Lights should be approved by Underwriters Laboratory; "UL" will be clearly displayed on the tag.  And be sure the lights are approved for outdoor use.
  • All outdoor lighting displays, animated or inflatable decorations should be protected by ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers.
  • Double check the lights for any frayed wires or cracks and be sure there is a light in each socket; damaged strands should be discarded.
  • Check to make sure tacks or nails were not hammered into the electrical cord during installation; most lights now have clips that can be used to attach to the house. 
  • Be sure heavy-duty, outdoor extension cords are being used.
  • Use a timer, or turn off the lights before going to bed.
  • Make sure cords do not create a trip hazard.

Indoors

  • Continue to check lights for frayed wires or any other damage, particularly if there is a pet in the household.
  • Don't overload extension cords; no more than three sets of standard lights should be used per cord.
  • For special ornaments that plug into a bulb receptacle, use no more than two such ornaments per strand, or check the manufacturer's directions.
  • Lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting.
  • Do not leave lights on overnight.
  • If you have children in your home, use safety caps on all electrical outlets.
  • If fuses blow or circuit breakers trip frequently, or lights dim when other appliances are in use, you should have your electrical system checked by a qualified electrician.
  • Protect electrical or extension cords from damage. Do not place a cord where it's likely to be walked on. Avoid twisting, kinking, or crushing the cord.
  • Lights or heat-producing appliances such as space heaters and warming trays should not be placed near combustibles such as paper, drapes, furniture or carpeting.
  • Space heaters, unless designed for outdoors or in bathrooms should not be used in damp, wet areas.
  • Live holiday trees decorated with lights should be kept well-watered.
  • Make sure cords do not create a trip hazard.

Additional holiday safety information is available at www.firstenergycorp.com.  For more details about keeping safe around electricity, local groups can request a presentation through the FirstEnergy Speakers Bureau.  For more information, contact speakersbureau@firstenergycorp.com.

FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence.  Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.  Its generation subsidiaries control more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity from a diversified mix of scrubbed coal, non-emitting nuclear, natural gas, hydro, pumped-storage hydro and other renewables.  Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.

SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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