They’re right around the corner! Along with all the fun and family time that the holidays bring, come situations where electrical safety can be a concern.
To make sure Gibson Electric Membership Corporation consumer-members enjoy an injury-free Thanksgiving and Christmas, we asked our Safety Coordinator, Billy Porter, to offer some reminders for the upcoming season.
“A lot of folks start putting up holiday lights right after Thanksgiving—or even before!” He says. “Be sure to inspect both your indoor and outdoor light strands for broken sockets, frayed wires, and loose connections. If it’s time to replace your old lights with new ones, look for ones that have been approved by nationally recognized testing labs—and only buy from reputable retailers. If your philosophy is ‘the more lights, the better,’ avoid overloading outlets. And make sure you use the right kind of light strand for the right application. Lights rated for indoor use only feature a green holographic mark on the tag next to the plug, while a red mark indicates lights that are safe for both indoor and outdoor use. Outdoor lights should be plugged into GFCI outlets. Use only heavy-duty extension cords outside, making note of the wattage rating of the cord as well as the power requirements of the lighted decorations you’re planning to plug into it. If you need a ladder to hang your lights, use one that is made of a non-conductive material like wood or fiberglass—just to be on the safe side. And always unplug that amazing light display before you leave home or go to bed.”
Because this is the time of year when portable electric space heaters are often being turned on for the first time since last winter, Porter urges everyone to stay safe around them: “Always plug space heaters into a wall outlet—not a power strip. Make sure they are placed on the floor at least three feet away from flammable objects. If you’re in the market for a new one, look for UL-approved heaters that offer a built-in shutoff that automatically cuts the power if they are tipped over or become too hot. And last but not least, never leave a space heater running in a room unattended. That way, if anything should go wrong, you can take action quickly.”
Finally, it makes a sense to be extra-aware of kitchen safety this time of year. “With family coming to celebrate around the holiday table,” says Porter, your kitchen appliances are likely to be getting a work-out. Always have someone on duty when cooking is underway; accidents can happen when stove burners or the oven is left unattended. Keep pot holders, dish towels, and other flammable items away from heat sources. It should go without saying, but—for those folks who opt for a deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey—never use an outdoor frying setup indoors. No matter how cold it is outside!”