Bend, Ore. ‘Tis the season of merriment and gatherings of families and friends. Taking a few minutes to check for safety will help ensure a festive and fun holiday season.
Bend Fire and Rescue and Pacific Power want to help you be safe and merry.
The following list of 12 recommendations is the best gift you can give at home:
1. Look first. Inspect all electrical decorations for damage before use. Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious shock or can start a fire.
2. Don’t overload electrical outlets. Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and only plug one high-wattage appliance into each outlet. NOT THIS!!
3. Three string rule. Never connect more than three strings of incandescent lights. More than three strands can trip a circuit breaker or even cause a fire.
4. Look for the label. Check decorations for certification label. Decorations without a label from an independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have not been tested for safety and could be hazardous.
5. The Outsiders. Make sure all extension cords and electrical decorations used for outdoor decorating are marked for outdoor use.
6. Evergreen, ever safe. If you have a live tree, keep it fresh by watering daily. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard. When trimming the tree, only use non-combustible or flame-resistant materials and lights approved by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
7. Don’t flame out. Use battery-operated simulated candles in place of traditional candles in any location near flammable objects. Almost half of home decoration fires are caused by traditional candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
8. Three foot rule. Keep combustibles, including Christmas trees, at least three feet from heat sources.
9. Get wired. Protect electrical cords from damage. To avoid shock or fire hazards, cords should never be pinched by furniture, forced into small spaces such as doors or windows, placed under rugs, located near heat sources or attached by nails or staples.
10. A watched pot. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking. Unattended cooking equipment is the leading cause of home cooking fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
11. Turn off, unplug and extinguish all decorations when going to sleep or leaving the house. Unattended candles are a disaster waiting to happen. Half of home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (NFPA).
12. Don’t kid around. When buying (or shopping for) electronic toys for children, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. Check if the item is appropriate and safe to operate for the child’s age group, determine whether adult supervision is required, and plan accordingly.
Additional details and safety tips are available on Pacific Power’s website at www.pacificpower.net/safety.