The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

November 8, 2013

Holiday lights safety: How not to be the Griswolds

Whether you string up lights to adorn your home and yard every holiday or just wait for Christmas, it's important to keep electrical safety in mind when decorating. After all, you don't want to be your neighborhood's version of the Griswolds from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."



Here's an important list of eight electrical safety tips for holiday decorators, from Safe Electricity.

1. Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas. Do not run electrical cords across sidewalks or other walkway areas that could trip or endanger visitors. Indoors, avoid stretching cords across a room where people or pets can trip over them or become entangled.

2. Make sure that the lights you use have been safety tested by an approved laboratory.

3. Double-check light strings to see if they are frayed. Replace damaged strings.

4. Make sure extension cords are in good condition. Use only cords that are certified by UL, ETL, or CSA and rated to carry the electrical load you will connect to them. Electric overloads can cause shocks and start fires.

Read the label on both the cord and the appliances that are plugged into it to make sure the cord can handle the load. If it cannot, use a higher-rated cord, or unplug some appliances. Remember that extension cords are meant for temporary, not permanent, use.

5. Outdoors, use only lights, cords, and animated displays rated for outdoor use.

6. Ensure that outdoor lights are securely fastened to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only plastic hooks or insulated staples to hold light strings in place, not nails or tacks. Also, be sure not to staple or nail through light strings or electrical cords.

7. Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets do not have them. GFCI protection is very important outdoors, where weather conditions can create potentially dangerous electrical situations.

8. Always turn off or unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home. A timer can help you make sure this happens.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo