JACKSON, Miss. – This is the time of year when many of us pull holiday decorations out of the attic and make plans for meaningful time with children, family and friends. At Entergy Mississippi, Inc., we want to share important safety and energy-saving tips as you light up the season.
“Our most important message to you is to respect electricity at all times,” said Jeanine Brooks, Entergy Mississippi senior safety specialist. “If you’re putting up outdoor lights, stay away from overhead power lines and the line that brings service to your home. Use a fiberglass or wooden ladder that doesn’t conduct electricity. If you have a live tree inside, make sure it stays fresh and green – the needles should be hard to pull off.
“And always inspect your lights before you use them – if the cords are worn or frayed, throw them away.”
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that between 2007 and 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 230 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of six deaths, 22 injuries and $18.3 million in direct property damage per year.
“Following safety guidelines can make sure you and your family stay safe and that you get to enjoy this time with those you care about,” said Brooks.
Energy-efficient lighting also can save customers money on their electricity costs, which goes a long way this time of year. LED bulbs are a popular choice for holiday decorating and they use up to 90 percent less energy than an incandescent or traditional bulb to produce the same amount of light. Many ENERGY STAR-qualified decorative lights feature LED technology.
So from our families to yours –follow these holiday lighting safety tips for a safe, energy-efficient and happy holiday season:
· If using a live tree, make sure it is fresh and green, with needles that are hard to pull from the branches.
· Place the tree in a stand with water, well away from heaters or the fireplace. Check water daily.
· Examine all lights before putting them on the tree or using them in other home decorations. Do not use lights with frayed wiring or loose sockets, and make sure they have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory.
· For greater efficiency and safety, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights.
· Make sure all light sockets have bulbs in them. Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets.
· Keep bulbs from touching tree branches. Never burn candles on or near the tree and never use flammable decorations.
· Never use lights on a metallic tree. If the lights become faulty, the entire tree could be electrified.
· Be careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or even whole circuits in the house.
· Turn off decorative lighting when you leave the room.
· Place wires where they cannot trip anyone. Do not run them under rugs.
· Make sure the lights used are designated for outdoor use.
· Use a non-conducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights. Also, stay clear of all overhead wires.
· Do not replace bulbs when the electricity is on.
· Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic or dry grass and leaves.
· For outside use, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.
· Use rubber gaskets in light sockets or hang sockets downward to keep water out.
· Keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes.
· Turn outside holiday lights off when away from home or asleep.
Entergy Mississippi, Inc. provides electricity to approximately 441,000 customers in 45 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 14,000 employees.