It’s the time of year when many will decorate their homes with Christmas lights. As you prepare to string lights on your roof and landscape, and put up your tree, you may want to consider these safety tips:
• Before you put up your lights, be sure to check each of them for cracked cords, frayed ends or loose connections.
• Be sure to keep your tree watered so it will stay fresh and green. A dry tree and electrical lights can be a deadly combination. The combination of shorts in electrical lights and a tinder-dry tree can be deadly.
• Newer lights have fused plugs that can prevent sparks in case of a short circuit. Old strands of lights that don’t have fuses should be thrown away and replaced with newer, safer lights.
• If bulbs are burned out, be sure to replace them with the correct wattage bulbs.
• Make sure all outdoor sockets are free of water and debris to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks. Make sure all outside extension cords are protected and off the ground to keep water and debris out of the connections.
• Periodically check your extension cords, as they can sometimes overheat. If you touch it and it’s hot, unplug it. Be sure to keep extension cords out of walkways so that no one trips over them.
• Never use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights. They can damage the light string. Make sure to use hooks that are specifically for hanging lights.
• Be sure that the lights you use outside are for outdoor use. Indoor lights often have thinner insulation that can crack when exposed to the weather.
• The lights should be turned off at night or when you are not home.
• Be sure to use the buddy system when you are hanging lights and be careful on the ladders.
For the Consumer Product Safety Commission brochure, click here.