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Progress Energy offers safety tips for installing holiday lights

Posted Friday, December 10, 2004

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The holiday season is upon us, and for many in Progress Energy's service area, decorating the home and the holiday tree is a favorite and fun part of the season. As with anything electrical, there are precautions to better ensure the safety of your family and your home. Progress Energy offers the following tips for a safe holiday season:

Indoor Safety
- Select a fresh, green tree without any dry, brown limbs and keep it in a stand filled with water.
- Place your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.
- Artificial trees should be labeled fire resistant.
- Follow the instructions that come with your light sets to determine how many sets you can plug together.
- Use only one brand of light sets on your tree to assure that you have no electrical problems and do not plug light sets with different number of bulbs because they may have different electrical requirements.
- Check the wires on light sets for tears. Plug in the set to find burned out bulbs before putting lights on the tree.
- Replace burned-out bulbs immediately to prevent strain on the remaining ones.
- Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights only outdoors.
- Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord and do not run cords under rugs.
- Check all extension cords and plugs for fraying, cracks, or loose connections.
- To avoid overloading, use a surge protector bar, with several outlets and a circuit breaker.
- When using extension cords, make sure that the current rating (in amps or "A") of the appliance that you are plugging in doesn't exceed the extension cord's rating. If the product's current rating is higher than the extension cord's, the cord could overheat.
- Don't bunch mini-lights together -- the excessive heat could melt the insulation and expose live wires. Metal tree ornaments could also pose a shock hazard if they make contact with frayed wiring.
- Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Outdoor Safety
- Only use lights that are specifically designed for outdoors.
- When putting up lights, be aware of overhead hanging power lines, especially if you are using a ladder.
- Use outdoor-specific extension cords outdoors. Make sure that the current rating (in amps or "A") of the appliance that you are plugging in doesn't exceed the extension cord's rating. If the product's current rating is higher than the extension cord's, the cord could
overheat.
- Check all extension cords and plugs for fraying, cracks, or loose connections.
- Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

 
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Progress Energy offers safety tips for installing holiday lights
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