Last week we talked about how to decorate your home safely during the holidays and today we are going to point out the safety tips for outdoor holiday decorating. Holiday decorations can be the cause of many electrical and fire hazards, so it is important to take precautions.
When hanging lights outside your home make sure you follow some of the same tips from last week’s Holiday Lighting Safety article and in addition to those you need to be sure any extension cords you are using are indoor/outdoor cords. When you are using electrical lights outside you want to be sure your circuits are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) and if they are not, it is recommended to purchase a portable GFCI.
When fastening your holiday décor make sure they are tightly attached to your home, fence, trees or any other support so they are not damaged by wind and weather. On the other hand, you don’t want to attach or fasten them in a manner that will damage the cord or its insulation causing electrical hazards. Make sure throughout the season, you are clearing your light strings of any standing water or snow. If you are using any spotlights or moving electrical items be sure to keep them protected from the weather and in a safe location where they are not touching other items or can be well ventilated when necessary.
Stay away from metal when decorating outdoors. Fences, ladders and other metal surfaces conduct electricity and can aid in electrical shock. The same goes for any power lines or the poles they are connected to. You want to stay a minimum of 10 feet from power lines coming into your property. Lastly, make sure you never pinch any cords between doors, windows or gates on your fence. This can threaten the insulation of the cord and cause shock, especially when laying over a metal threshold or pinched in a metal gate.
Remember when using electricity to decorate your home for any holiday to practice safety and take precautions to avoid injury to yourself or guests along with damage or fire. When you inspect your decorations and take the proper steps to decorate safely, you and your neighbors will enjoy your holiday décor for years to come.
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