December and January are the peak months for home fires because of all the electrical, heating, and other fire hazards that take place over the holiday season. For instance, “the top two days for home candle fires are Christmas eve and New Year’s Day and Eve.”

We all want to protect your home and family this holiday season with the following electrical safety tips for the holidays.

1.) Don’t connect more than three strands of lights –
“Electrical failures or malfunctions were involved in one-third (32%) of the home Christmas tree structure fires.” Plug in more than three strands of lights into one outlet and you could trip a breaker or risk starting a fire.

2.) Blow out candles and turn off lights at night or away – 50 percent of home fire deaths occur when we are asleep, between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am. Designate one person in your house to make sure all heating devices are turned off at night, such as ovens, stovetops, candles, space heaters, and Christmas lights.

3.) Check decorations for a certification label – All of your decorative lights and electrical equipment should be labeled with either UL, CSA or ETL. If they aren’t marked with one of these labels, they have not been tested for safety.

4.) Avoid electrical fires – Be careful not to overload circuits or extension cords. Overloaded connections, frayed or damaged wiring, and other electrical malfunctions account for over two thirds of fires involving holiday lighting.

5.) Keep plugs safe – Unplug all appliances when you’re not using them. If a plug is overheating, smells weird, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off, then replaced or repaired immediately.