Southlanders were reminded this week to use common-sense safety considerations involving holiday lights and decorations.
"During the holiday season, it's easy to get distracted with all the things you need to prepare around your home for your family and guests," said William Messner of Southern California Edison. "Taking shortcuts may seem to save time, but it's important not to rush, and (to) be safe."
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the most common winter holiday decorations are lighted Christmas trees, indoor decorations using electric lights and outdoor light decorations.
From 2005-09, an annual average of 240 home fires started with Christmas trees, resulting in 13 deaths, 27 injuries and $16.7 million in property damage.
About 5,800 people each year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these injuries were caused by falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors.
SCE urged people to follow these safety tips:
-- Do not use decorative lighting with frayed cords and wires, broken fuses or broken light bulbs.
-- Do not use staples, nails or tacks to hang electrical cords. These can pierce the protective insulation.
-- Plug no more than three strands of lights into each electrical cord or outlet.
-- Never use lighted candles on or near holiday trees or decorations.
-- Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal ladders conduct electricity.
More safety tips are available at: www.SCE.com/holidaysafety.