The holidays are here and with them come celebrations and festivities. Southern California Edison (SCE) is hoping to remind its customers to safely decorate their homes, work places and Christmas trees with energy-efficient lighting.
"The holiday season is an exciting time of year. But we want all of our customers to keep safety foremost in their minds as they enjoy their decorating experience. Some people may be inadvertently exposed to a greater safety risk and could become victims of fire or electrical accidents, such as shock or electrocution," said Rick Greenwood, SCE's director, Corporate Environment, Health and Safety.
To help keep safe, SCE offers the following holiday lighting safety tips:
- Keep electrical connections off the ground and away from moisture. Water and electricity are a deadly combination.
- When hanging lights, make sure staples, tacks and nails do not pierce or pinch wires. Use plastic zip cords instead.
- Never get closer than 10 feet to power lines. Remember, trees may have power lines running above, near or through them. Do not throw light strands or electrical cords into trees.
- Do not use lighted candles on trees or decorations. During power outages use flashlights instead of candles.
- Beware of counterfeit or poor quality electrical products. Use only lighting and cords approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent, nonprofit organization that tests electrical components and equipment for potential hazards.
- Check all indoor and outdoor decorative lighting for frayed cords, broken wires and loose connections. If you find a problem, throw the strand away.
- Change bulbs only when the lights are unplugged.
- Use lights and extension cords designed for outdoor use if placing them outside.
- Unplug lights when you leave home or go to bed. Save energy by using a timer so the lights are on only during the hours you select.
- Use only three strands of light per electrical cord or outlet. An overload could cause a short circuit and a fire.
- Keep indoor trees well watered so that they will not dry out and become fire hazards.
- Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture, drapes and other combustible materials.
Holiday Lighting and SCE Street Lighting
SCE reminds customers that holiday lighting, decorations and displays are not allowed to be attached or hung from SCE streetlights or facilities. The holiday lights can create a safety or fire risk for residents and SCE employees. The utility's policy requires that permission must be given to hang any objects or materials from company facilities.
SCE also encourages its customers to use light emitting diode (LED) lights to decorate their homes and trees.
LEDS offer many benefits:
- Energy efficiency: LEDs use up to 90 percent less of the electricity that is needed to power conventional incandescent, painted or ceramic-coated bulbs.
- Environmentally friendly: the lower electricity usage of LEDs means less carbon emissions.
- Safety: LEDs generate much less heat when they operate so they are cool to the touch and are less likely to overload a circuit.
- Longevity: LEDS can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent strands.