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Osceola Energy Offer Holiday Electrical Safety Tips

christmas tree pictureDuring 2008-2012, an average of 260 home fires each year started with Christmas trees. Another 150 home fires per year were caused by decorative and holiday lights. While the winter holiday season is traditionally a festive time of year filled with colorful decorations and family gatherings, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics indicate that 30% of all home fires and 38% of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February.
 

Electrical Fire Statistics:

  • Home electrical distribution and lighting systems are the fourth leading cause of home fires, after cooking equipment, heating equipment, and intentional fires.
  • In the United States, 50,900 fires each year are attributed to electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries.  Arcing faults are a major cause of these fires.
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that AFCIs could prevent more than 50 percent of the electrical fires that occur every year.
  • About 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others.

 

Holiday Safety Tips and Fire Prevention:

  • electrical safety tips pictureInspect electrical decorations for damage before use – Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets – Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage appliance into each outlet at a time.
  • Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights – More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but can also cause a fire.
  • Keep tree fresh by watering daily – Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.
  • Use battery-operated candles – Candles start almost half of home decoration fires (NFPA).
  • Keep combustibles at least three feet from heat sources – A heat source that was too close to the decoration was a factor in half of home fires that began with decorations. (NFPA).
  • Protect power cords from damage – To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources, or attached by nails or staples.
  • Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use – Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Check decorations for certification label – Decorations not bearing a label from an Independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or Intertek (ETL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
  • Turn off, unplug, and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house – Unattended candles are the cause of one in five home candle fires. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. (NFPA).

Call Osceola Energy to set up an electrical home inspection (505) 850-8863. We can assess your home and provide information on holiday electrical safety tips as well as how to save money on your electric bill.

See more at on this topic at: http://www.esfi.org/index.cfm/event/holidaySafety/pid/11990

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