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Electrical Safety Tips for the Holidays

The holiday season brings families and loved ones together for celebration. Whether hosting an event or traveling to someone’s home, the holidays take a lot of preparation. During the hustle and bustle, remember to make safety a priority to help ensure that nothing spoils the fun, and make your holiday a happy one.

“As you make final preparations for holiday and family celebrations, take simple safety steps to help ensure a safe and bright holiday season,” advises Erin Hollinshead, executive director of the Energy Education Council and its Safe Electricity program.

Remember to always turn off decorative holiday lights before going to bed or leaving home. A timer can help make sure this happens.

Also, take care to not overload extension cords or outlets. Electric overloads can cause shocks and start fires.

Ensure that fresh-cut trees as well as artificial ones are placed away from heat sources such as registers, fireplaces, radiators, and televisions; and water a fresh-cut tree frequently.

During the holiday season, your home may see increased traffic, including children and pets. Make sure all electric cords are out of high-traffic pathways and areas. Do not run cords through doorways or hide them under rugs or carpets. Do not let children or pets play with light strands or electrical decorations.

The kitchen can be one of the busiest rooms in the house with cooking and baking holiday treats. Here are some tips to remember when working in the kitchen:

  • Stay focused and attentive to baking, brewing, and simmering foods.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of grease.
  • Do not leave combustible items, such as towels or pot holders, near the stovetop.
  • Never plug more than one high-wattage appliance into a single outlet.
  • Make sure outlets near sinks are equipped with GFCIs.
  • Always have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to operate it.

If you are traveling for the holidays, please drive safely. If you get into an accident with a utility pole, the safest place is almost always in the vehicle. A downed line does not need to be sparking to be energized. Always assume all low and downed lines are energized and dangerous. Call 911 to have the utility notified immediately.

Only exit the vehicle if it is on fire. To do so safely, jump clear of it with your feet together and without touching the vehicle and ground at the same time. Keep your feet together, and shuffle or “bunny hop” to safety.

“The EEC-Safe Electricity program wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season,” adds Hollinshead. Learn more about electrical safety at


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