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Make Electrical Safety a Tradition of the Holiday Season

Oct. 4, 2013
The Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) is encouraging families and communities across the country to make safety part of the holiday celebrations.

One of the funniest scenes in the movie “A Christmas Story” involves the dad plugging yet another cord into an overtaxed outlet and blowing a fuse. In real life, electrical hazards are nothing to laugh about.

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, the Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) is launching its annual holiday safety campaign to encourage families and communities across the country to "Make Safety a Tradition." The theme of this year’s campaign is “Deck the Halls Safely for All,” which educates the public about safe decorating practices and provides important tips on avoiding electrical hazards that are common during this time of year.

“The joy that festive decorations provide can cause people to overlook the inherent dangers that are also associated with them,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. “It is critical that families follow simple instructions and inspect their holiday decorations to minimize the risk of fire and electric shock.” 

For many families, decorating is an essential component of holiday celebrations. Holiday lighting, boughs of holly, Christmas trees and other seasonal décor may be a part of your holiday decorating plan, but no matter what products you use all of your decorating should demonstrate a common element: electrical safety.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), decorative lights with line voltage or holiday lights were involved in an estimated average of 160 reported home structure fires per year and Christmas trees account for an additional 230 fires each year. Together, fires beginning with holiday lighting or Christmas trees resulted in an average of 13 civilian deaths, 34 civilian injuries and $26.3 million in direct property damage per year. NFPA's website will help you create a holiday home with all the trimmings, including safety.

This includes tips for purchasing holiday lights, a checklist to help determine if your holiday décor falls under the “naughty or nice” end of the safety spectrum,  preparing your home for visitors, space heater safety tips and information on cord safety. Additional resources highlight important safety devices including ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and tamper-resistant receptacles (TRRs). 

In addition, ESFI’s seasonal website features tips, facts, statistics, trends and safety reminders to help keep families and communities safe this season. For younger audiences, ESFI’s online Kids’ Corner reinforces holiday safety concepts through animated videos and games.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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