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Christmas Trees Can Be Beautiful and Deadly

wolfsavard, Flickr

When pulling the holiday decorations out of storage, it is also a good idea to dust off some common sense safety tips to ensure that your winter wonderland stays safe.

While the focus is on fun, friends and family during the holidays, it is a riskier time of year. In the interests of keeping everyone safe, keep in mind some sobering facts about safety risks during the holidays, according to the U.S. Electrical Safety Foundation:

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by problems with the tree lights.
  • One in every six Christmas tree fires is due to a heat source too close to the tree.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be deadly. On average, Christmas tree fires are nearly four times as likely to result in a death compared to other house fires.
  • December is the worst month for fires caused by candles. They account for 11 percent of home fires in December compared to four percent the rest of the year.

Pacific Power offers several important suggestions to help customers and the public ensure a safe holiday season:

  • Never use indoor lights outdoors.
  • Take care when climbing ladders to hang or remove outdoor lights and other decorations. Especially watch out for overhead power lines. Stay more than 10 feet away from any lines.
  • Inspect electrical cords and plugs for damage each time you use them. Do not use a cord if there is any question about its condition.
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets with too many plugs. If cords become hot to the touch when in use, it is likely a sign of an overload or other problem.
  • Use only safety-tested lights and extension cords that carry the “UL” label.
  • Never put extension cords under rugs, and keep them away from water, heat sources or metal pipes.
  • Never modify three-pronged plugs to fit two-pronged sockets.
  • Always turn off holiday lights when going to bed or leaving home.
  • Keep multi-purpose, or ABC, fire extinguishers in the home in case of electrical fire.
  • Teach children of the basic rules of electrical safety. Keep electrically powered games, toys and appliances away from water, and keep little hands away from wires, cords and outlets. Adults should help children heed the safety precautions included with games, toys and other electronic items.

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