Lighting The Way To Holiday Safety

Posted on November 12, 2013

People aren’t waiting until after Thanksgiving anymore; over the next couple of weeks, you can expect houses to be lit up like amusement parks as residences are bedecked with holiday lights.  It seems that the season is starting earlier and earlier, which means that residents must start thinking now about how they’re going to do things safely.  If you plan on hanging up lights in the near future, you might consider the tips included in a new report.

Before you plug in or hang up any strands, you need to make sure that they’ve been rated by an appropriate agency, like Underwriters Laboratories.  If you’re buying new lights, simply check for the UL symbol on the label; this symbol, or that of some other respected safety agency, should be on most lights available on modern store shelves.  However, if you have older lights, such denotations may not be as common, and it’s incumbent on you to switch out any aging lights that may not meed safety qualifications.

That’s not the only thing you should be paying attention to with packaging and the cord itself.  You also have to note whether the lights have been approved for outdoor or indoor usage and then stick to that recommendation.  Also pay attention to what the labeling says should be the optimum electrical load.  To make sure you’re keeping within the bounds of safety, you ought to refrain from plugging a bevy of appliances into any light cords or extension cords, as they really weren’t designed for such capacity.

When you’re pulling lights out of storage, and even when a cord is new, conduct a thorough check of the entire strand to make sure there isn’t any damage.  If a bulb is broken, replace it prior to plugging in the strand, and if the cord itself is damaged, you may need to toss out the whole thing.

As you hang lights outside or in the home, make sure you’re not accidentally cutting through the exteriors of the cords.  Stapling or nailing lights increases the risk of this; plastic hooks may be a better idea.  Before you’re done, make sure that the lights are secured so they can’t be blown away, potentially striking someone or causing some other damage.

When you finally go to plug in the cords, make sure that you’re taking advantage of a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.  Doing so helps you avoid a serious electrocution hazard, especially in areas where rain and snow are common.  Finally, make sure to unplug the lights whenever you leave or sleep so that you can take the necessary preventative steps if a fire or some other danger pops up.

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