Powering Strong Communities

Give the Gift of Safety

Public Power is committed to helping make the holiday season safe. With all the seasonal excitement, it’s important to remind everyone to be cautious and mindful of safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 860 home fires are caused by holiday decorations every year, with an additional 210 annual home fires caused by Christmas trees alone.

Our friends at the Electrical Safety Foundation encourage homes and businesses to create a hazard-free environment for the holidays by following these tips — and following the links provided to ESFI’s resources — to ensure the safety of your home, property, and workplace.

  • Keep away from power lines
    Exercise caution when decorating near power lines. Keep yourself, decorations, and equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. 
  • Inspect decorations
    Carefully inspect each electrical decoration before using it. Cracked or damaged sockets, bare wires, and loose connections may cause shocks or start fires. 
  • Water your Christmas tree
    For live trees, check for freshness and avoid buying dry trees. Once the tree is installed in your home or office, remember to water it daily. If you’re using an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” 
  • Keep decorations away from home heating sources
    Heating equipment caused an annual average of 44,210 home fires and 480 deaths between 2016 and 2020, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Prevent fires by keeping decorations or flammable items at least three feet from open flame and heat sources. 
  • Use appropriate outdoor lights
    Use only outdoor-rated lights, and make sure you plug them into a GFCI outlet when using electricity outdoors. Again, always inspect lights for damage before use. Overloading electrical outlets with too many lights or devices can cause a fire. 
  • Avoid counterfeit electronics
    When buying electronic gifts or decorations, ensure that you get them from reputable retailers and that they are approved by a nationally recognized testing lab such as UL, Intertek, or CSA. 
  • Only plug outdoor decorations into GFCIs
    Outdoor electrical lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Turn off decorations
    Make sure to turn off all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

For more holiday safety resources, visit HolidaySafety.org.