Decorating for the holidays? Stay safe with our top 10 tips

Holiday lights

It’s that time of year when people start thinking about putting up holiday lights and décor. But before you get started, take a quick look at our electrical safety tips. 

  1. If you are hanging decorative lights, make sure they have a mark of approval from a Canadian certification agency, such as CSA, cUL, ETL, or other. This certification should be located both on the outside of the package, and stamped somewhere on the light cord itself. Less expensive lights available at discount and dollar stores are often missing this certification, meaning they are not permitted for use in Canada. (Review the list of approved electrical marks)
  2. Green labels mean the product is suitable for outdoor use, red labels mean the lights are for indoor use only. Always use the right type of lights for your location. It's unsafe to use indoor-rated lights outside where they may be exposed to temperature variations and water.
  3. Don’t leave lights up year round. Exposing lights to the elements will make them deteriorate faster, creating unsafe conditions.
  4. Replace any lights that have frayed or broken cords and replace any burned out lights.
  5. Never run cords under rugs where people will walk over them or through doorways or windows where they may become pinched, creating a risk of fire.
  6. When hanging lights, avoid stapling or nailing cords as this can puncture the cord. Instead, use plastic clips made specifically for this purpose. 
  7. Make sure cords can handle the amperage indicated on your electrical devices, and avoid multi-outlet adaptor connections which can overload your outlet.
  8. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing and using any electrical decorations, and always turn them off at night before you go to bed.
  9. Consider switching to energy efficient LED lights – they produce less heat, which reduces the risk of fire.
  10. Dry Christmas trees and holiday lights are a dangerous combination. If you have lights on a live tree, ensure it is kept well-watered and not allowed to dry out, which creates a risk of fire. 

By taking care and following this advice, you can ensure your holiday season is both safe and festive. 

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