Seasonal Safety Tips
It’s easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Stay in the holiday spirit and keep safety at the top of your list.
Safety Tips for the Holidays
- Be sure to use the right ladder when hanging outdoor decorations and use it properly. Use three-point contact by keeping two feet plated and one hand for your work, and use two hands when climbing and coming back down. Be careful of your footing on the way down.
- If your lights have frayed wires, broken or cracked sockets or loose connections, DO NOT use them. Damaged holiday lights are not only a fire hazard, they’re also an electrocution hazard for those who come in contact with them, including children and pets
- If you’re decorating outside, ensure lights and power bars are weatherproof and equipped for rain and snow. When purchasing lights or extension cords, check the box twice to make sure it’s marked for proper indoor and outdoor use.
- Do not use outdoor lights indoors. Outdoor lights burn hotter than indoor.
- Use hooks to clip lights. This is a safer alternative to using tacks, nails or screws to hang lights, which can pierce cables and expose the wire, creating an electrical safety hazard to those who come in contact with it.
- Avoid overloading electrical outlets; if a circuit becomes overloaded, it can overheat and start an electrical fire.
- Christmas tree lights should not be left on for prolonged periods of time or overnight. Even LED lights can overheat and become a potential fire hazard. Make it a habit to turn off or unplug your lights and decorations every time you leave the house or go to bed at night.
- Never run electrical cords or power bards under carpets or rugs.
- Water your tree daily. Dry trees are a serious fire hazard.
- Never connect more than three strings of lights. More than three strands may not only blow a fuse, but start a fire.
- Ensure temporary outdoor lighting, such as holiday or seasonal lighting, is connected to a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).
- If using a ladder stay away from overhead wires.
- Fall-related injuries often increase while decorating for holidays. Be sure of good footing and avoid uneven surfaces if using a ladder.
- When clearing snow and ice from your gutter and downpipes, be sure to locate your electrical service entrance and stay clear. One wrong move with a ladder or getting yourself too close can result in electrical contact causing serious injury or even death.
- If you are going on vacation, be sure to unplug electrical cords and turn off power bars before you leave.
Space Heater Safety
- Place the heater on a hard, level and nonflammable surface. They are intended to sit on the floor, not on a table.
- Keep the space heater at least 3 feet away from combustible materials, such as furniture, bedding and curtains.
- Turn it off when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Unplug the heater when it’s not in use by pulling the plug straight from the outlet. Check the cord for damage periodically, and don’t use the heater if the cord is frayed or worn.
- Don’t plug another electrical device or an extension cord into the same outlet as a heater—that can cause overheating.
- If you are cleaning leaves out of the gutter, be sure to locate your electrical service entrance and stay clear. Misplacement of your ladder or getting yourself too close can result in electrical contact.
- When turning the clocks back, take time to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home and replace batteries as needed. Replace all smoke detectors that are older than 10 years old and any carbon monoxide detectors that are older than five years old.
- Spring clean electrical appliances to prevent oil and dirt buildup, to prevent electrical equipment from overheating or short-circuiting.
- When moving the clocks ahead, take time to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home and replace batteries as needed. Replace all smoke detectors that are older than 10 years old and any carbon monoxide detectors that are older than five years old.
Installing Satellites or Similar Objects
- Maintain a safe distance from power lines. If power lines are in close proximity, contact Maritime Electric to determine the line voltage and safe limits of approach.
Lawn and Garden Tools and Projects
- Not sure whether you have an underground electrical service? Contact Maritime Electric before you dig, trench or till on your property.
- Check for overhead power lines before setting up a ladder.
- Only use your electric lawnmower on dry grass. Do not mow the lawn when it is raining.
- Use garden tools and appliances that have three prong plugs.
- Inspect your garden tools’ electrical cords for frayed insulation. If frayed, repair before using.
- Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets for outdoor plugs.
Tree Planting and Cutting
- Your tree will become a hazard if it grows into power lines. Always plant your trees away from power lines.
- Cutting a tree that has the potential to fall into a power line can be very dangerous or even deadly. Contact a licensed arbourist to remove any trees on your property.
- Contact Maritime Electric if the limbs on a tree you wish to cut are in proximity to power lines.
- Do not try to move a tree that has fallen into a power line. Stay clear. Contact Maritime Electric for assistance.
- Fly kites and toy planes far away from power lines and do not try to retrieve it if it lands on a wire.
- Instruct children to stay away from all utility lines, especially if it is a downed line.
- Inform children to NEVER climb a tree near a power line, even when the branches are NOT touching the power line. If the branches are touching the power line, it could cause electrocution resulting in death.
- Keep all cords and electric devices away from swimming pools, electricity and water do NOT mix.
- If you are planning to clean them out, be sure to locate your electrical service entrance and stay clear. Misplacement of your ladder or getting yourself too close can result in electrical contact. Stay clear and stay safe.
- Remember: when the thunder roars, stay indoors.
- Once indoors, stay away from electrical appliances and equipment, doors, windows, fireplaces. Keep a safe distance from anything that will conduct electricity, such as sinks, tubs and showers. Avoid using a telephone that is connected to a landline or touching devices that are plugged in for charging.
- Your car is also a safe place to be during a lightning storm.
- If you go to your car, do not park under tall objects that could fall such as signs, trees or power lines.
If you're caught outdoors:
- If you are caught outside, do NOT stand near tall objects or anything made of metal, and stay clear from open water.
- Seek shelter in low-lying areas, but watch out for flooding.
- Stay clear from water. Do NOT go swimming or boating if you hear thunder. If you are already on the water, get to land as quickly as possible. Water is a conductor, and a lightning can strike the water and spread from its point of contact.
- Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as tractors, golf clubs, metal fences, motorcycles, lawnmowers and bicycles.
- Avoid being the highest point in an open area. Swinging a golf club, holding an umbrella or fishing rod can make you the tallest object and a target for lightning.