N.C. Residents Urged to Observe Holiday Safety

December 3, 2004

Now that the last turkey sandwiches are being made, the next items on many North Carolinians’ holiday lists are to scout a Christmas tree and hang up this year’s holiday decorations.

However, in addition to good cheer, the holidays also bring increased risk for electrical fire. During the holiday season, the U.S. Fire Administration predicts that fires during the holiday season will injure more than 2,600 individuals and cause more than $930 million in damage.

To help ensure North Carolinians enjoy a bright and safe holiday season, Touchstone Energy cooperatives offer the following holiday electric safety tips:

Christmas tree safety tips:
— Use only UL-approved lights.
— Use miniature lights. They have cooler-burning bulbs.
— Examine light strings each year and discard worn ones.
— Avoid overloading wall outlets and extension cords.
— Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
— Make sure the Christmas tree has plenty of water.
— Space heaters need space. Keep materials that burn easily at least three feet away from each heater.

Holiday decorating tips:
— Make sure to be using an extension cord marked for outdoor use for exterior lighting.
— Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or lose connections. Throw out damaged sets.
— Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls or other firm
supports to protect the lights from wind damage.
— Turn off electrical light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
— Fasten the bulbs securely and point the sockets down to avoid moisture build up.
— Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.

Weather winter travel tips:
— If one must travel during a storm, inform someone of the travel route, destination and expected arrival time.
— Keep a disaster supply kit in the car. It should include: battery
powered radio, extra batteries, flashlights, blankets, booster cables, first-aid kit, extra clothing, flares, sand and a shovel.

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