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couple outside winter home via iStockThe holidays are in full swing and celebrations are underway. Many people have completed all of their seasonal decorating and are moving on to hosting parties and inviting guests into their home. It is the time of year meant for spending time with loved ones and enjoying all of the glitz and glam associated with the season. But it is also a time of year rife with electrical hazards, house fires, and other dangers that no one wants to or should have to face. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent bad situations from happening – always keep safety in mind this holiday.

* Lights

The season wouldn’t be the same without lights, lights, and more lights. After all, they serve as a decoration on their own and are essential to creating the perfect Christmas tree. We have them around our yards, hanging from the roof, wrapped around the banister, and anywhere else they will go. While they may look great, they may not be safe. While you have likely hung your lights already this season, here are some things you might want to double check this final weekend before Santa’s big day.

When it comes to interior and exterior lights:

  • Check that the lights you are using are being used in the right place. A label will indicate whether the lights are intended for indoor or outdoor use. Some lights can be used for either, but ones labeled indoor only should not be hung outside.
  • If lights are cracked or broken or the cords are frayed, throw them away. Avoid the risk of electrical damage or fire.
  • Keep light strands to a minimum. The recommendation is no more than 3 strands of incandescent lights connected together.
  • Avoid electrical overload by minimizing the amount of devices plugged into one receptacle or attached to an extension cord.

holiday decorations outside window looking in

* The Kitchen (Cooking)

While lights warm up the holiday season and appeal to our eyesight, holiday food warms up our insides and appeals to our taste buds. That means plenty of time spent in the kitchen switching from stovetop to oven to microwave and back.

When manning the kitchen or assisting someone else, keep in mind these safety tips:

  • Make sure that someone is always in the kitchen when food is cooking. Don’t leave food, such as a pan frying on the stove, unattended.
  • Keep children away from hot stoves and appliances and make sure they are under supervision.
  • When food is finished cooking, check that everything is turned off and unplugged before sitting down for the big meal.

christmas tree

* Other Decorations

Decorations in addition to and aside from lighting can be a fire hazard. Candles, for example, are a leading cause of house fires and are ever so popular during the holiday season.

Keep in mind these things for your decorations:

  • Skip the flame. Consider using battery-operated candles instead of traditional ones, especially if you plan to line your table or mantle with several of them at a time.
  • Keep flammable decorations at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, lights, and heat vents.
  • If you have a live tree, make sure to water it regularly. A dry tree is never fire-friendly.

Taking the time to remember these things for both your home and the homes you visit this holiday can help to prevent dangerous situations. Then … you can truly have a safe and happy holiday.

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– For a complete list of holiday safety tips, visit http://esfi.org/.

This article was written by Dorian Adams for Gillece Services. For more information on electrical safety, you can also find more tips and advice from Gillece on your favorite social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. For many more home safety tips, please see our articles Preventing House Fires and Holiday Window Decorating Tips :: Do’s and Dont’s. Cheers. ~jb

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