Make Electrical Safety a Priority this Holiday Season

[fa icon="calendar"] November 23, 2015 / by Home Services Expert

christmas_giftTips. Our readers love electrical safety tips.

And that's a good thing, because Experts In Your Home enjoys providing them.

Knowing that the holidays wouldn't quite be the same without children and the presence of a Christmas tree, we focus here on these two treasures so that you'll know exactly how to make electrical safety a top priority this holiday season.

If we could wrap them up in a bow, we would. But you can still consider these tips a holiday gift from the Experts:

Child Safety Tips

  • Purchase child-proof protective covers for your home's outlets, if you haven't already done so. More than 3,000 children under the age of 10 are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year after inserting objects into outlets, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says.
  • Teach even small children that water and electricity don't mix. While you obviously don't want to simulate a shock, a child should know that, like touching a hot stove, the combination could “hurt.”
  • Err on the side of caution and don't give a child under the age of 10 a toy that must be plugged into an outlet. Purchase a battery-operated toy instead.
  • Keep extension cords out of the reach of children. The safety commission estimates that of the 4,000 injuries linked to electric extension cords, 13 percent involve children under the age of 5. Extension cords can pose a choking hazard, and those with frayed or loose wires can shock or burn a child (as well as an adult). Ensure that your cords are in pristine condition and replace those that have fallen into disrepair. As you try to keep extension cords out of small hands, you should never mount extension cords with nails or staples or weigh them down with heavy furniture or rugs. Both strategies could damage the cord's insulation and create a fire hazard. See more extension cord safety tips.
  • Avoid placing small ornaments, lit ornaments and metal hooks on the lower branches of your tree, where little hands can easily reach them.

Tree Safety Tips

  • When purchasing a live tree, select the freshest one you can find. The trunk should be sticky with resin. Then pull on the needles. Those from a fresh tree will wage some resistance. Also, place some needles between your fingers. Those from a fresh tree will bend but not break. A fresh tree will stay green longer and pose less of a fire hazard as it dries out.
  • Cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk before placing the tree in a stand with ample water. Cutting the trunk in this way will foster water absorption.
  • Place a live tree away from heat registers to prevent the tree from drying out prematurely.
  • Check the water level in the stand daily.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, choose one that is marked “fire resistant.”
  • Do not use electrical ornaments or lights on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branches.
  • Place both live and artificial trees at least 4 feet away from heat sources such as a radiator and fireplace.
  • Decorate your tree with only non-combustible or flame-resistant decorations.

It's sad but true that nearly half of all home fires occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (says the National Fire Protection Association) and that the number of children injured and killed by fire more than doubles during the holidays (says the U.S. Fire Administration).

Try to consider these sad statistics as motivation to make your home as safe as it can be. Let a local Chico electrician inspect your home – and maybe dispense even more electrical safety tips that our customers love but are tailor-made to you. 

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