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Tips for Safe Christmas Decorating

It’s almost the holidays, people, that most anticipated time of the year when millions of families across America resurrect decors, flickering lights and electronic Santas from their basements and garages, and prepare for that favorite December activity: decorating.

Although holiday decorating is mainly about creating a warm and fun atmosphere for a very special season, you have to remember that a lot of our favorite decorations run on electricity. Keep a totally avoidable accident at bay by following the holiday d?cor safety tips below:

> When buying for lights and electric decorations, as well as extension cords, get only the ones which are UL-listed.
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> If you intend to decorate outdoors, use only lights and decorations that were created and rated for use outdoors. If you put indoor-only products outside, exposed to the weather, this can lead to fire and electric shock hazards.
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> If you’re in doubt whether light strings are made for the outdoors or indoors, just look at the color-coded UL mark on the product’s label – red for both indoor and outdoor and just green for indoor.

> Brand-new or used, all electric decorations, especially lights, and extension cords should be checked before being set up. The bulbs, wire insulation and plugs should be examined carefully. Have any problems professionally checked and fixed before using the d?cor. Some damages though may be irreparable, usually those that involve the cords and plugs. If such a case, the best thing to do is to discard the item.

> Lights should be unplugged before changing bulbs or fuses or doing any type of repair.

> Should you have to replace a bulb on a line of Christmas lights, first check if the new bulb’s rating is a match to the light strand’s. If the bulb’s wattage is too high, the light string can overheat and cause a fire.

> Instead of a metal ladder, use something made of wood, fiberglass or any non-conductive material to avoid electrocution while hanging lights outdoors.

> Never use lights and decorations beyond manufacturers’ instructions.

> Know the safe number of light strands that can be connected end-to-end (3 is the norm) before you begin decorating.

> Check that extension cords are not overloaded.

Always check your extension cord’s wattage rating, making sure the combined power requirements of your lights or decors do not exceed it. Otherwise, the cord can overheat and cause a fire.

> Christmas light wires should be check from time to time to make sure they are cool to the touch. Again, the opposite can cause a fire.

> Finally, do not go to bed or leave the house unless all your lights and decorations have been turned off.