While the pandemic may have put a damper on the holiday season, reviving and even expanding the tradition of holiday decorating is a great way to add some cheer and normalcy to otherwise troubled times.
Entergy has provided the following tips for safely decorating with lights:
- If you haven’t upgraded to LED light strings, consider doing so. They don’t get hot, use little energy, put out lots of light, can incorporate snazzy technology and last longer than traditional bulbs.
- Never leave holiday lights on unattended. This takes some effort, but it’s important. Turn off your outdoor lights when you leave the house or go to bed and your indoor decorative lights, too.
- Never use indoor lights outside. Outdoor lights are sealed against moisture to prevent electric shocks. When running extension cords along the ground, elevate plugs and connectors with a brick or other item to keep snow, water and debris out of the connections.
- When putting up lights outside from a rooftop or with a ladder, stay away from power lines. Also, be sure to use a ladder that is the right size for the task.
- Plug no more than three light strands in one electrical outlet. This is a good rule of thumb to keep from overloading a circuit.
- Toss out old lights and buy new ones, preferably LED. Modern lights have safety features built in that older ones do not have.
- Never put electric lights on metal trees. Metal conducts electricity. A frayed wire could energize your tree and deliver a dangerous shock.
- If you buy a real tree, be sure it is fresh when you get it and keep it watered. Christmas trees are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays. Keeping your tree watered will make it less flammable. Once the tree has dried out, and certainly after Christmas, remove the hazard from your home.
And speaking of trees, the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office has provided addition tips on keeping your tree and other decorations safe during the holidays.
- Keep trees well-watered to avoid fire this Christmas
- Live trees can “drink” a gallon of water daily.
- Check water at least twice daily.
- Use holiday decorations made with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials.
- Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings and replace damaged items before plugging lights in.
- Use lights approved by Underwriter’s Laboratories.
- Do not overload extension cords.
- Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
- Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and make sure any lit candles in the room are placed away from tree branches.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Cut at least an inch off the bottom of the tree trunk before placing it in a stand.
- Make sure the tree is at least 6 feet away from any heat source.
- Take the tree down when it becomes dry.
- Do not burn a tree in the fireplace. Heat may explode the wood and set the room on fire.
- Check with your tree provider to see if they will apply a Fire-Retardant for you.