Twelve Tips for Holiday Safety!

Just twelve business days remain until Christmas Day!

Quality Service encourages everyone to keep electrical safety in mind during this season of celebration.

Take a look at Rocky Mountain Power’s tips for holiday safety:


Counting Down to Christmas with 12 Electrical Safety Tips

The holiday season is in full swing and Christmas is right around the corner! It’s a wonderful time of year and staying safe around electricity will keep the holidays bright for you, your family and friends. As you “deck the halls” and make other preparations, please pause to review our electrical safety tips and take care to avoid potential hazards.

While you won’t find any pipers piping or swans-a-swimming on our list, we’re sharing these tips “Twelve Days of Christmas” style by adding new electrical safety information to this blog each day through December 24. But don’t wait to get started on safety measures. Skip ahead and read all 12 safety tips in our news release and then check back each day for more details on the blog.

Okay, here we go! (Imagine the sound of 12 drummers performing a drum roll.)

(Photo credit: Mavis, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #1: Inspect all electrical decorations for damage before use. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious shock or can start a fire.
  • Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available and where they are located. Plan your displays accordingly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s use and care instructions that accompany electrical decorations.
  • Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords.
  • When putting up outdoor decorations, exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines.

(Photo credit: State Farm, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #2: Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires.
  • Avoid overloading outlets and only plug one high-wattage appliance into each outlet.
(Photo credit: Jon Nagl, Flickr)Holiday Safety Tip #3: Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands may not only trip a circuit breaker, but also can cause a fire.
  • Consider purchasing LED lights which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
  • Make sure spotlights used to illuminate decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance from flammable items.
  • Always unplug electrical decorations before replacing bulbs or fuses.
  • Turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.
(Photo credit: website)Holiday Safety Tip #4: Check decorations for certification label.
  • Decorations not bearing a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
  • Always purchase electrical decorations and lights from reputable retailers.

(Photo credit: Roger H. Goun, Flickr)
Holiday Safety Tip #5: Make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations used for outdoor decorating are marked for outdoor use.
  • Keep all extension cords and light strings clear of snow and standing water.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters. If circuits are not GFCI protected, portable outdoor GFCIs can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold and require no special knowledge or equipment to install.

(Photo credit: Our City Forest, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #6: If using a live tree, keep it fresh by watering daily. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard. When trimming the tree, only use non-combustible or flame-resistant materials and lights approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree.
  • Cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk immediately before placing the tree in the stand and filling with water to ensure water absorption.
  • Because heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water by refilling daily.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” This label indicates that the tree is more resistant to burning.
  • Dot use electrical ornaments or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch coverings.
  • Place your tree at least three feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators and space heaters.

(Photo credit: Eric Kilby, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #7: Use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles whenever possible. Almost half of home decoration fires are caused by traditional candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Avoid using traditional candles.
  • Never leave an open flame unattended. Keep burning candles within sight.
  • Place lighted candles away from combustible material such as other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Take care to place candle displays in locations where they cannot be knocked over.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other greenery.

(Photo credit: State Farm, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #8: Keep combustibles, including Christmas trees, at least three feet from heat sources.

  • Test your smoke alarms monthly and make sure that your house is protected by an adequate number of working alarms.
  • Smoke alarms should be located inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Develop a fire escape plan with your family including the location of an outside meeting place and two ways out of each room in your home.
  • Share your fire escape plan with your overnight guests.

(Photo credit: Mlaaker, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #9: Protect electrical cords from damage. To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources or attached by nails or staples.
  • Do not place extension cords where they could cause a tripping hazard, like doorways.
  • Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Keep halls, stairs and doorways properly illuminated and free of clutter and other objects that could hinder an escape during a fire emergency.

(Photo caption: Bill McIntyre, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #10: Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Watch children closely in the kitchen. They must be supervised at all times when a stove is within reach.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from all cooking appliances.
  • Don’t hold a child while cooking or when removing hot food from the microwave, oven or stove.
  • Turn pot handles inward on the stove, away from small reaching hands.
  • Use the back burners on the cooktop whenever possible.
  • Once the holiday meal is ready, check that the stove and oven are turned off and other kitchen appliances are unplugged and out of reach of children.

(Photo credit: Fiona Shields, Flickr)

Holiday Safety Tip #11: Turn off, unplug and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house.
  • Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (NFPA).
  • Keep candles, matches and lighters out of reach of children in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children unsupervised where candles are lit.
  • Cover any unused electrical outlets on extension cords with plastic caps to prevent children from coming in contact with the live circuit.
  • Place electrical cords out of the reach of small children.

Holiday Safety Tip #12: When contemplating electronic toys for children, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. Note if the item is appropriate for the child’s age group, determine whether adult supervision is required and plan accordingly.

  • Read all manufacturers’ labels for toys or items that will be used by or around children.
  • If gifts require batteries, exercise the same caution as you would give toys with small parts. Many batteries, especially small button cells, pose choking risks if children are able to open the battery covers.
  • Supervise children while they play with their toys. They can enjoy the gifts while you can enjoy knowing that they are safe.

For more tips and information, visit the Electrical Safety Foundation International’s Holiday Survival Guide, produced in partnership with the National Fire Protection Association. And to ensure a Happy New Year, review additional year-round electrical safety information on our website.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone at Rocky Mountain Power!

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