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Christmas lights safety tips guide
- Choose Christmas lights that have been tested and deemed safe by a reputable testing laboratory. This will be noted on the packaging when you buy them.
- Try to use the cooler-burning "mini" Christmas lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older styles burn much hotter.
- Only use Christmas lights that have fuses in the plugs.
- Inspect each set of Christmas lights - old or new - for damage. Return or throw out any set with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
- Replace burned out bulbs promptly with bulbs of the same wattage.
- Never hang Christmas lights on a metal tree. The tree can become charged with electricity and shock someone. The tree can also short out the Christmas lights and cause a fire.
- When hanging Christmas lights outdoors use outdoor Christmas lights. The packaging will note whether the lights can be used indoors, outdoors, or both.
- All outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can buy portable units for outdoor use, or you can have them permanently installed by an electrician.
- Use extension cords properly. Outdoor cords can be used inside or outside. Do not overload extension cords - they can get hot enough to burn.
- Stay away from powerlines or feeder lines (these go from the pole to the house).
- Secure outside Christmas lights with insulated holders (never use tacks or nails) or run strings of lights through hooks.
- When you leave or go to bed at night, turn off your Christmas lights.
- Never pull on a string of Christmas lights, it stresses the cords and can lead to fraying. Store Christmas lights loosely wrapped for the same reason.