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Sparkling lights and dazzling decorations are hallmarks of the season. Make sure your holiday decorating is done with safety in mind. 

Use only holiday lights that have been safety tested and have the UL label. Before decorating, check each light strand for broken sockets, frayed cords, or faulty plugs. Always be sure to unplug the lights when replacing a bulb. Don’t string together more light strands than recommended by the manufacturer. 

Outdoors, use only lights, cords, animated displays and decorations rated for outdoor use. Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with GFCIs. Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don’t have them. 

Take extra care not to throw strings of lights over tree branches that are near power lines and service connections. 

LPEA offers these additional tips for safe holiday decorating: 

  • Place fresh-cut trees away from heat sources—such as heat registers, fireplaces, and radiators — and water the tree frequently. 

  • Match plugs with outlets. Don’t force a 3-pronged plug into a 2-pronged outlet or extension cord, or remove the third prong. 

  • Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas. Do not run them through doorways, hide them under carpets, or staple, nail, or tack them to the wall. 

  • Always unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home. 

  • Make sure extension cords are in good condition and are UL-approved and rated to carry the electrical load you will connect to them. 

  • Don’t let children or pets play with light strands. 

Overloaded circuits are a major cause of fire. Flickering or dimming lights, sparks from appliances or outlets, and wall plates, plugs, or cords that are warm to the touch are warning signs that demand immediate action. 

If you spot an electrical danger, make sure to unplug the malfunctioning appliance or device immediately and replace it with one that works properly. 

The holidays bring plenty of opportunities for holiday cooking and entertaining. Be safe in the kitchen as well, since 49% of home fires and injuries are caused by cooking equipment, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Follow these tips to avoid shocks or fires: 

  • Inspect all small appliances and electric cords to make sure they are in good repair before using. Don’t use appliances with cracked or frayed cords. 

  • Read the operating instructions of any appliance before use. 

  • When purchasing new kitchen appliances, look for UL-Listed appliances with automatic shut-off features. 

  • Never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet. 

  • Keep cooking areas free from items that could catch on fire; also clean up any greasy spills as they happen if you can safely do so. 

  • Stay focused and attentive to baking, brewing, and simmering foods. 

  • Make sure outlets near sinks are equipped with properly tested ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shocks. 

  • Always have a working fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. 

LPEA wishes you and yours a bright, safe holiday season!