SHREVEPORT, La. (KNWA/KFTA) – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power company, wants people to be mindful of electrical safety during the holiday season due to decorative lights draped through trees and around homes.
SWEPCO recommends the following tips for your home this holiday season:
1. Use only lights and extension cords that are safety-certified by a recognized testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Check your tree lights and outdoor lights for damage each year before you use them. Discard lights with frayed wires, loose connections and broken or cracked sockets.
2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using tree lights. All lights should be fastened securely to the tree, but never with conductive wire. Bulbs should not come into direct contact with needles or branches on natural trees. Though they don’t emit much heat, it could eventually be enough to dry out the tree limbs.
3. Never attach electric lights to metal trees. A malfunction could lead to a dangerous, perhaps fatal, shock to anyone touching any part of the tree. Instead, use colored floodlights to give a safer illumination.
4. Select lights appropriately and never use indoor lights outside because they are not designed to be waterproof and could short circuit. Outdoor lights are usually hotter than indoor and could pose a hazard if placed on a tree.
5. Connect lights to power strips that have several outlets and a built-in circuit breaker to avoid overloading wall outlets or extension cords. Never run electrical cords under carpets or rugs where daily walking and wear could cause fraying and overheating. Unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment before restoring power if fuses blow or circuits trip in the home.
6. Be sure to turn off all lights when you leave the house or go to bed. Disconnect lights by pulling the plug, not by yanking on the cord.
7. Remind children never to touch lights or outlets.
To save energy this holiday season, SWEPCO suggests using LED string lights.