The holiday season is here and with it comes the much-anticipated ritual of hanging the lights and installing festive decorations. And every year, thousands of Ontario consumers purchase and install holiday decorations without realizing the potential electrical safety hazards.
To help avoid these risks, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is sharing holiday safety tips to help prevent electrical-related incidents that have the potential to take your holiday decorating from nice to naughty. ESA’s holiday safety checklist, downloadable holiday décor shopping list and safe installation guide, and other important safety tips can be found at www.esasafe.com/holidaysafety. The website also contains holiday safety videos to identify potential electrical hazards and how to avoid them.
“As the busy holiday season approaches, many Ontarians simply aren’t aware of the potential electrical hazards associated with installing holiday decorations and lighting,” says Scott Saint,
Chief Public Safety Officer, Electrical Safety Authority. “Knowing the potential hazards before you start decorating –both indoors and outdoors –can prevent a fire or a severe shock, and give you and your family peace of mind this holiday season.”
Some of the holiday safety tips identified by ESA include:
- Always purchase electrical decorations from reputable retailers to avoid counterfeit products –look for a recognized certification mark to prove they have been tested and meet safety standards
- Look for overhead powerlines before setting up your ladder to hang outdoor lights and decorations
- Choose the right decoration for the job: some are rated for indoor use only and could be damaged by our harsh winter climate
- Never use damaged extension cords –they can lead to a nasty shock –and avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire;
- Don’t forget to turn off holiday lights when you leave the house or go to bed.
The ESA also reminds homeowners to keep an eye on their electrical systems. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is time to call a licensed electrical contractor for advice:
- Dim, flickering or surging lights
- Fuses that constantly blow or breakers that often trip
- Outlets that don’t work when the fuse is replaced or breaker is reset
- Switches or fuses that are hot to the touch (turn them off immediately)
- Or a hot, burning smell where you can’t find the source
A licensed electrical contractor can help you assess and address these potential electrical hazards and keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards all year long.
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