Holiday Lights

“Colored vs. Clear” and “Steady vs. Blinking”

From Cape Cod to California and Detroit to Dallas, millions of homes will feature lighting displays this season. Help make sure an electrical fire doesn’t ruin your holiday.

Buy Smart

  • Make sure your electrical/lighting equipment (including extension cords) has a label that shows it’s been tested and approved by a legitimate testing facility such as the Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Purchase lighting decorations from an established store to lessen the possibility of buying counterfeited materials — shoddily manufactured materials are dangerous and can cause shocks, burns, and fires.
  • Buy the right type of lighting for the location in which you plan to use it — that means making sure lighting intended for outdoors is clearly marked as such on the package. The same goes for indoor lighting equipment.
  • Consider LED lights, which generate less heat than incandescent bulbs, use less electricity, and last much longer.

Do an Annual Inspection

  • Review your decorations each year before you put them up. Replace them if you find frayed or bare wires, cracked plugs, scorch marks, damaged or loose sockets, or other signs of wear or damage.
  • Check your outdoor and little-used sockets to make sure they are still in good condition and free of debris.
  • Plug your lights in before you put them up to see if they are all working. It’s much easier to change a bulb while you’re on the ground than when you are outside on a ladder.
  • Always unplug the string before you change a bulb or fuse.

Connect Smart

  • Never connect two or more extension cords to reach an outlet.
  • Don’t connect more than three strands of lights together.
  • Don’t tack the cords to the wall with a nail or staples.
  • Don’t place cords under a rug or in a high-traffic area.
  • Use the right size equipment — never use a plug that’s too small for the cord and make sure the prongs are fully seated in the plug.
  • Don’t overload outlets.
  • If you have a live Christmas tree, be careful to keep the lights away from water in the tree stand.

We hope you enjoy the holidays — safely!


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