The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is providing safety tips and resources to prevent household fires and accidents caused by improper cooking, heating, and holiday decorating practices. Cooking and heating are the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, while 25% of winter fires are caused by decorations. It is imperative to learn how to avoid preventable accidents and celebrate safely during the season.
“Statistics show that incidents of home fires and electrical accidents increase during winter months,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. "ESFI is urging consumers to take steps to make heating, cooking, and decorating safety a holiday tradition and priority.”
ESFI’s website holidaysafety.org offers a variety of free resources and information that can be shared with your family, community, and workplace. Follow these basic guidelines to help prevent serious electrical and fire hazards as you enjoy the season:
When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. Around 210 home fires a year are caused by Christmas trees, so be sure to water your tree daily.
When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a fire-resistant label.
Carefully inspect decorations before use. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a shock or start a fire.
Only use electrical decorations and lights that have been approved for safe use by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
Keep all decorations three feet away from heat sources, including space heaters and fireplaces.
Avoid using candles when possible. Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
Never connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together and consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than incandescent lights.
Follow the use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations and always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
Keep young children away from holiday lights, electrical decorations, and extension cords to prevent electrical shock and burn injuries.
Avoid plugging too many decorations into a single outlet. Overloaded outlets can overheat and cause fires.
Make sure cords are not pinched in doors, windows, under heavy furniture, or rugs that could damage the cord and cause a fire.
Always unplug decorations using the gripping area. Pulling on the cord could damage the wire and present a shock or fire hazard.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) sponsors National Electrical Safety Month each May to increase public awareness of the electrical hazards around us at home and in the workplace. ESFI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to promoting electrical safety. For more information and to use ESFI’s free-to-share electrical safety resources throughout your community, visit esfi.org.