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At the risk of sounding like giant nerds: “winter is coming.” That means snow, ice, wind, and just plain cold. Electrical devices are a winter wonder in the cold and certain devices can even be energy savers. That said, they can also create dangerous situations if not properly used. Winter is dangerous even without factoring in the cold temperatures and slick roads. Carbon monoxide kills and injures more people during the winter months and, due to the dry air, more house fires occur as well.

 

To ensure your family stays safe this winter and that your holidays are about family, fun, and food we’ve compiled a list of some winter electrical safety tips. Don’t let electrical dangers or the Grinch ruin your holidays, look over our list:

 

Holiday Lights:

They’re meant to spread joy and cheer not ignite a fire. If you neglect the safety aspect of holiday decorating you’re creating an unnecessary risk.

  • Inspect wiring for damage
  • Don’t hang lights on a dry tree. Use a fire resistant artificial tree if possible but if you have a family tradition of getting a tree together, make sure the tree isn’t dried out with lights on it and plugged in.
  • Keep trees away from heat sources.
  • Inspect lights and plug them in together before hanging
  • Use a three-prong grounded extension cord for outdoor decorations

 

Heating Safety:

Due the cold temperatures of winter, many people look for additional ways to stay warm. If you want to supplement a heat source, don’t use it for too long and follow these tips:

  • Keep space heaters away from anything flammable, include drapes and blankets
  • Supervise children around space heaters, they can burn or shock
  • Inspect the space heater’s plug. A damaged plug is a fire hazard
  • Never fall asleep using an electric blanket
  • Do not run cords under area rugs
  • Never tuck electric blankets in
  • Don’t cover your electric blanket with another blanket

 

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips:

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that kills at high concentrations and can cause serious harm even when low levels are present. If you experience a power outage over the cold months, it can be tempting to find a heat source by any means necessary. Here are some things you should NOT do:

  • Never use a camp stove inside. No matter how cold you are, the fossil fuels give off carbon monoxide and, while your family will feel warm, they’ll also be breathing in a highly toxic gas.
  • Never turn on your gas stove to add heat. This is the same problem as using a camp stove. You’ll be unknowingly inhaling a toxic substance. Here are some signs of carbon monoxide exposure:
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea
    • Rapid Heartbeat

 

If you follow these safety tips, you’re sure to have a fun and safe holiday season. While we can’t guarantee that your great aunt Terry isn’t going to over indulge in the eggnog this year, we do feel better about arming you with some safety tips for the electrical side of things.