Nov 26, 2013

Utilities and safety over the holidays

3 min
By Heather Legg It's the most festive time of the year ... beautiful with holiday lights, Christmas trees, candles ... it's also a...

By Heather Legg

It's the most festive time of the year ... beautiful with holiday lights, Christmas trees, candles ... it's also a fairly dangerous time, and Christmas trees, candles and lights need to be handled with care. Remember, too, customer energy bill can go up due to all those festive lights.

For utility customers, it is best to check with their energy company for literature on both price increases due to the use of extra energy to run all those lights and also safety tips to use throughout the holiday season. Though the cost of running holiday lights isn't huge, if folks are on a budget, they may want to think about scaling back.

As for live trees and candles, be smart.

Follow these tips for staying safe with candles:

• Never leave the house (or even a room) with a lit candle.

• Trim wicks to ¼ inch so the flame does not get too big.

• Do not place candles near any flammable objects, including Christmas trees, dish rags, curtains or anything else nearby that could catch on fire.

• Place candles on heatproof material.

• When your candle gets low, dispose of it. You don't want the votive or the surface it is on getting too hot.

Customers should follow these helpful live Christmas trees tips:

• Keep your tree hydrated. Make sure you water it every day so it doesn't dry up. Chances are better of a dry tree catching fire than a hydrated one.

• Turn the lights off your tree before leaving the house or going to bed.

• Make sure all the lights you put on the tree are in good condition.

• Do not place your tree near a heat source (this starts one in every five Christmas tree fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

• Consider using artificial Christmas trees. You will avoid the dangers of dry trees igniting.

Christmas trees can be the starting point

Though fires due to Christmas trees, lighting and candles during the holiday season are not very common, they are usually severe, leading to death and injury, plus high monetary damage.

Between 2006 and 2010, about 230 fires were reported that began with Christmas trees. It's an easy one to avoid by being smart and safe.

Often it is the lighting that causes the Christmas tree fires so as stated above, be sure to give all of your lights a good once over before putting them on your tree, and keep your tree clear of other objects that could catch or cause fire.

While the holidays are a great source of celebration for many people, others unfortunately find themselves either paying too much for electricity or worse yet, becoming a fire victim.

About the Author: Heather Legg is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including decorating, social media and marketing.

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