Put Safety First
There are many holidays and occasions that involve decorating with electrical products like special lighting and accessories. Follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe from electrical hazards when celebrating your next special occasion.
Light Up Safely
- Choose the right light for the job. Light strings and other decorations are rated for indoor or outdoor use.
- Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
- Replace damaged electrical products (cords, plugs, ornaments).
- Avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire.
- Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) when plugging in outdoors.
- Buy lights with a recognized Canadian approval mark on the package.
Electrical Product Safety
- Only purchase electrical products from reputable sources and retail outlets.
- When shopping for gifts, look at the fine details of the product information. Typos may be a sign of a cheap or counterfeit product.
- Look for a recognized Canadian approval mark of an accredited certification agency (it will be on the product label or in the description).
- This mark shows that the product has been tested and meets safety standards.
- Visit this page complete list of marks. (Bookmark the page for future reference!)
- If your electrical item is unsafe or does not have a certification mark, do not use it and return to the seller. You can report it to the Electrical Safety Authority.
Extension Cords and Plugs
- Don’t overload extension cords or circuits by plugging in too many decorations.
- This can create overheating and may result in a fire.
- Fuses that frequently blow and circuits that trip might mean you have connected too many items to the circuit.
- Never remove the third prong on plugs. This "grounding pin" prevents shock in case of electrical equipment failure.
- Plug outdoor electrical decorations into Ground Fault (GFCI)-protected outlets.
- Don't run extension cords under carpets, through windows or doorways, or in places where furniture might damage them.
- Keep outdoor connections above ground and out of puddles. Don't run them across driveways and/or walkways.
- Connect no more than three light strings together as per the manufacturer's instructions.
- Make sure bulbs don't touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material that's not part of the light string.
- Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords.
- Check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, or when hanging lights or decorations on trees.
- Take down holiday decorations when the holidays are over. They aren't designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. (Plus, your neighbours will thank you!).
General Safety Tips
- Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.
- Don't let children put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
- Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.