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Ask the Expert: How Can I Prevent Holiday Home Electrical Hazards?

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Make sure you use non-flammable or flame retardant decorations. Should something go wrong, flame resistant decorations will at the very least slow the spread of fire.

Make sure all smoke alarms work. Test smoke alarm batteries monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. If you can’t prevent a fire, a smoke alarm will allow you to curb the damage and protect your family’s safety.

Fire hazards exist outside the home as well, so it’s equally important to take safety into account when installing outdoor decorations:

Only use lights and electrical decorations that are approved for outdoor use. Outdoor decorations are manufactured to withstand rain, snow and other kinds of weather. Indoor-use decorations and lights are not, and can malfunction and trigger an electrical fire when they come in contact with weather and the elements.

Keep all extension cords and strings of lights suspended away from standing water and snow. Wires that come in contact with water or snow can trigger fires and cause electrocution.

Keep decorations away from major power lines and high-voltage areas. Decorations that accidentally come into contact with a high-voltage power line can easily start a fire and cause electrocution as well.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the peak months for home fires are December through February, so your extra care and vigilance will be well worth it.

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