When it comes to Halloween and the holidays that come on its heels, nothing is scarier than dealing with the consequences of an electrical emergency. Electrical problems are one of the leading causes of house fires in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 51,000 incidents and nearly 500 deaths each year.
Unfortunately, many of these incidents happen around the holidays, when a home’s demand for electricity may be elevated by festive lights, animatronics, sound-emitting devices, and other decorations.
Although it’s often perfectly safe to operate these electricity-hungry devices, homeowners should exercise care and caution to ensure that it’s just tricks and treats and no tragedies this Halloween.
Here are some electrical safety tips you can use this holiday season:
- Check all electrical lights and devices for signs of damage or defects such as fraying, broken sockets, and bent prongs
- Plug in your devices and supervise them for at least 30 minutes, discard any that don’t operate as intended, emit strange odors, or get too hot
- Make sure you only use lights that were tested and approved by the Underwriters Laboratory (look for a UL label on the box), which independently tests certain products for safety
- Never staple through an electrical cord
- Don’t plug one power strip into another
- Only plug cords into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of electrical shock or sparking
- Never run cords across high-traffic areas that could endanger tick-or-treaters or your family during normal activity
- If your decorations are on a timer, make sure they turn off when they’re supposed to
- Never leave your decorations on when you’re not at home
By following these tips, you can feel more confident about ensuring safety while spookifying your home this Halloween!