Central Maine Power is urging its customers to follow some simple electrical safety and energy-saving tips so they can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
"The holidays are a time of celebration, but as people gather with family and friends, they should never put safety on the back burner," said Doug Herling, Vice President of Electric Operations. "No one wants a fire or preventable accident to take away from the joy of the season, so we encourage everyone to follow some common-sense measures to keep their loved ones safe."
In addition to testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and planning emergency fire escape routes for your family, people should keep the following safety tips in mind for safety and energy efficiency:
- Dried Christmas tree limbs and hot lights can be a dangerous combination, so if you have a live tree, be sure to keep it fresh. Before you put the tree in its stand, cut its base at a 45-degree angle so it can absorb water. Water the tree liberally -- the average tree can consume between a quart and a gallon of water a day. Remove the tree promptly after the holiday or when it becomes dry.
- Consider miniature and/or LED lights, which produce less heat, reduce the drying effect on the tree, and use less energy.
- All lights and cords should be factory tested; check for the UL label on the packaging.
- Carefully inspect light cords, plugs and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items.
- Don't overload electrical circuits or extension cords; follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and may cause an electrical fire. Additionally, make sure the cords are out of the way so that nobody trips over them.
- Keep flammable decorations away from the tree's lights. Also make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.
- Keep wires away from toddlers and pets. Push wires toward the center of the tree, and clip them securely to the branches.
- Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees unless they're flame resistant.
- Always turn holiday lights off before going to sleep and when you leave home, or consider using a programmable timer to turn lighting displays on and off automatically.
- While decorating the outside of your home:
- Look up and around the area first to identify overhead lines and other hazards
- Never raise ladders, poles or other extended objects into or near power lines
o Use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures
- Check to make sure that tree limbs aren't near power lines. Remember that no power line is safe to touch, ever
- In the kitchen, keep close watch on your stovetop, grill, and oven while in use, and never use them as a heating source.
- Customers can monitor their holiday energy use during the holidays or year-round by enrolling in CMP's free Energy Manager service. For more information, go tohttp://www.cmpco.com/YourAccount/em_about.html.