New York State Electric and Gas Corp., a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc., is urging customers to follow simple electrical safety and energy-saving tips to ensure a safe holiday season.
In addition to testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and planning emergency fire escape routes, people should keep the following safety tips in mind for safety and energy efficiency.
Dried Christmas tree limbs and hot lights can be a dangerous combination. Live trees need to be kept fresh. Cut the tree’s base at a 45-degree angle before placing it in the stand, so it can absorb water. Water the tree liberally; the average tree can consume between a quart and a gallon of water a day. Remove the tree promptly after the holiday, or when it becomes dry.
Consider miniature and/or LED lights, which produce less heat, reduce the drying effect on the tree and use less energy.
All lights and cords should be factory tested. Check for the UL label on the packaging.
Carefully inspect light cords, plugs and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items.
Don’t overload electrical circuits or extension cords. Follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and may cause an electrical fire. Make sure the cords are tucked away safely to prevent anyone from tripping over them.
Keep flammable decorations away from the tree’s lights. Make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.
Keep wires away from toddlers and pets. Push wires toward the center of the tree and clip them securely to the branches.
Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees, unless they’re flame resistant.
Always turn holiday lights off before going to sleep and when leaving home, or consider using a programmable timer to turn lighting displays on and off automatically.
While decorating the outside of the home, look up and around the area first to identify overhead lines and other hazards. Never raise ladders, poles or other extended objects into or near power lines. Use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures. Check to make sure that tree limbs aren’t near power lines. Remember that no power line is safe to touch, ever.
In the kitchen, keep a close watch on the stovetop, grill and oven while in use, and never use them as a heating source.