It’s that time of year when most of us deck the halls to make our homes bright and cheery for the holidays. If you’re among those purchasing plug-in decorations for the holiday – or are using older lights – consider these tips to avoid shocks and fire hazards and save energy.

  1. When buying exterior decorations, read the label to make sure they’re rated for safe outdoor use. Even cords rated for outdoor use should not sit in standing water.
  2. Carefully check cords for fraying or other damage before plugging them in.
  3. Avoid running extension cords across floors and walkways. If you must,  tape the cords down securely to help prevent trip hazards.
  4. When affixing light strands or other lit decorations, be careful not to puncture cords with staples or nails, which could damage the cord’s insulation. Similarly, don’t run cords through doorways or windows where they may be pinched or damaged.
  5. Use outlets with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of electric shock. For older homes that may not have GFCIs, use an adapter that includes one.
  6. Blow out any candles, deflate any inflatable yard decorations and unplug any lights before turning in for a long winter’s sleep.
  7. When buying new lights or plug-in decorations, choose LEDs or look for the ENERGY STAR® label to minimize your holiday lighting energy costs.

“It’s also good practice to clear walkways to remove tripping hazards, fix loose pavers and trim back cactus or low-hanging branches so that path to your door is clear for visitors,” adds Tucson Electric Power Safety Specialist Carrie Hildreth.

From all of us at TEP, have safe and happy holiday season.

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