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The holiday season means many strings of lights in and around your home and buildings. With these lights brings amazing views but also can bring hazards. Be sure to check out these holiday lights safety tips:

When putting up your Christmas tree,  whether real or fake, both have there own set of hazards to watch out for:

  • Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Ditch old strands of lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.

  • Not all lights are rated for outdoor use. Indoor lights often have thinner insulation, which can become cracked and damaged when exposed to the elements outdoors. So make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.

  • If you have a metallic Christmas tree, never put electric lights on it to avoid the risk of electric shock.

  • Before using lights, check each set of lights for worn or broken cords, broken or cracked sockets, and loose bulb connections. Replace damaged lights correctly.

  • Connect no more than three standard-size sets of lights into an extension cord. Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords, instead plug lights into different circuits around your home.

  • Don’t fasten colored spotlights onto metallic trees. Use them above or beside your tree to prevent tree branches from becoming charged with electricity from faulty lights.

  • Although it may be tempting to leave them on all night, before leaving or going to bed, it is best to turn off your lights. The best way to make sure your lights don’t stay on for too long is to connect them to a timer that will automatically turn them off.

  • Keep pets safe by protecting electric cords and tree lights so that they can’t chew them and get electrocuted.

Outdoor Lights can be stunning to look at but also very dangerous. Watch out for these tips to help make the process safer:

  • Make sure outdoor lights are rated for exterior use by an independent testing laboratory. Exterior lights and extension cords used outdoors need to be weather-resistant.

  • Your source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This type of outlet will shut the circuit down if there is overcurrent.

  • When running extension cords along the ground, take care to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick, to keep snow, water, and debris out of the connections.

  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage. However, don’t attach light strings with nails or staples as these can cut through the wire insulation and start a fire. Use only UL-approved hangers.

  • Store lights safely after taking them down. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. They’re also a pain to untangle. Wrap the strings around a piece of cardboard, cover them in paper or fabric, and then store in a sturdy container until next year.

  • Take exterior lights down within 90 days to prevent hazards from weather damage or critters chewing on them.

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