December 8, 2008

Beware of holiday lighting pitfalls

Experts at a U.S. health and safety professional group advise caution when decorating with lights for the holidays.

Safety reminders issued by the experts at the American Industrial Hygiene Association in Fairfax, Va., include to:

-- Turn off all lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

-- Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

-- Check decorative lights, even if new, for frayed wires, broken sockets and loose connections. Lights used outdoors should be certified for outdoor use and plugged into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters. Use hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks, to hold lights in place.

-- Ladders should be non-metal if used around electricity and should extend at least three feet past the edge of the roof. Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts and nuts. Avoid working alone when working off the ground.