The holidays are almost here and for many it’s a time to “deck the halls” and “trim the tree.”
Decorating the house inside and out with strings of bright lights and other colourful decorations is part of celebrating the season. It’s a special occasion to enjoy with family and friends, but it’s also a time to be careful. To stay safe and avoid electrical hazards around your home, follow these tips:
• Use only approved electrical products that meet Canadian standards and carry the mark of a recognized certification agency like the Canadian Standards Association or similar group.
• Always read manufacturers’ instructions and follow ratings on electrical products for indoor and outdoor use.
• Holiday lights are not designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Check them thoroughly for wear or damage before use and store them carefully when not in use.
• If you find broken lights or cracked sockets, replace them. Don’t risk a potential electrical shock or fire.
• If electrical cords are frayed or split, discard them. Damaged cords can expose electrical wires and may lead to electrical shock or fire.
• When putting up your lights and decorations, don’t run extension cords through doorways, windows or high-traffic areas without covering them or protecting from potential damage.
• Indoors or out — never overload electrical outlets, power bars or circuits.
• Always plug outdoor-rated extension cords into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle installed in accordance with the Electrical Safety Code. If the outlet is not GFCI-protected, buy and use a portable GFCI outlet adapter.
• Stay clear – at least 3 metres/10 feet — of overhead power lines when decorating outdoors and using ladders.
• Always turn off or unplug holiday lights and other decorations before you go to bed or leave the house.
Make the most of the holiday season. Have fun and enjoy putting up lights and decorations around your home, but be careful and follow these tips to stay safe.