Deck the Facilities Safely This Season
Use caution when choosing and hanging holiday lights
Now that Thanksgiving is over, many businesses will mark the start of the holiday season by decorating the interior and exterior of their facilities. Electric lights add a festive touch to commercial buildings, schools, and offices but can lead to fires if they’re used improperly. Follow these tips from Building Maintenance Program Director Allen Wilson of Vatterott College – Springfield in Springfield, MO, published in the Webster County Citizen:
- Only purchase lights, electronic decorations, and extension cords that are UL-listed.
- Consider purchasing LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
- Keep the indoor lights indoors. Putting indoor-only products outside in the weather can result in electric shock and fire hazards. All outdoor lights should be plugged into GFCI outlets.
- Check all lights, electric decorations, and extension cords for signs of damage to wire insulation, plugs, and bulbs. If the damage can be easily repaired such as replacing a broken bulb, do not use the item until the repair has been made. If cords and plugs are damaged, discard and replace the decoration.
- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity; using one could result in severe electric shock.
- Do not use staples, nails, or tacks to hang electrical cords. These can pierce the protective insulation.
- Don’t overload outlets. No more than three strands of lights should be plugged into each electrical cord or outlet.
- Always unplug lights before changing bulbs, replacing fuses, or making any other repairs. If you need to replace a bulb in a string of lights, make sure that the wattage rating of the replacement bulb you’re using matches that of the light strand.