The National Fire Protection Agency is reminding the public to properly store and dispose of seasonal decorations.
In 2006 to 2010, holiday lights and other decorative lighting were involved in an annual average of 160 home fires, nine civilian deaths, 13 related injuries, and nine million in direct property damage.
To reduce the risk of holiday light fires and keep equipment in good condition for next year, follow these storage suggestions:
- To unplug electric decorations, use the gripping area provided on the plugs. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from electrical outlets. Doing so can harm the cord’s wire and insulation and even lead to an electrical shock or fire.
- As you’re putting away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for damage. Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
- Do not place a damaged set of lights back into the storage box for next year’s use.
- Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness. Also, keep them away from children and pets.
For more information, visit nfpa.org/freeaccess.