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Safe holiday decorating not top-of-mind with Ontarians


December 2, 2011
By Anthony Capkun

December 2, 2011 – A survey commissioned by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) finds that Ontarians are guilty of skipping basic steps when decorating this holiday season. Specifically, many of them are ignoring important safety steps and guidelines when putting up their holiday lights.

ESA is urging Ontarians to check for overhead power lines before using a ladder to put up decorations, and to practice safe holiday decorating.

“The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, but we encourage you to practise safe holiday decorating by taking the necessary safety steps when putting up decorative lights, such as checking your lights for damage or frayed wires before decorating, and following indoor and outdoor use guidelines,” said Peter Marcucci, vice-president and chief public safety officer, ESA. “Following these safety guidelines will help to avoid electrical mishaps in home so you can enjoy this time with family and friends.”

When decorating for the holidays, be sure to look up and look out, and stay clear of overhead power lines. Other safety tips include avoiding overloading the electrical outlets, power bars and circuits, and using ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) -protected outlets for outdoor lights.

ESA conducts annual holiday surveys, and has found that only 15% of Ontarians check for overhead power lines before decorating outdoors, and that 24% do not thoroughly check their electrical holiday decorations and extension cords for damage before use. 26% of Ontarians report they typically leave their outdoor holiday lights up all winter, with 7% admitting their holiday lights are still up from last season.

Electrical holiday decorations are also prone to damage and deterioration over time. The 2011 Holiday Survey finds that almost 20% of Ontarians are using lights that are over five-years-old. When purchasing new electrical decorations, ESA encourages consumers to protect themselves by purchasing products that bear the mark of a recognized certification agency.

For more tips on how to decorate safely this holiday season, visit the Electrical Safety Authority website at www.esasafe.com.

Established in 1999 as a self-sustaining, not-for-profit corporation, the Electrical Safety Authority’s mission is to improve electrical safety for the well-being of the people of Ontario. The overall vision of the ESA is to achieve zero electrical accidents, injuries and fatalities across Ontario.