Safety Tips for Holiday Decorating

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., November 24, 2009 – To help keep families safe from fires and injuries, Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) reminds everyone to use decorative lights, candles and electronics safely this holiday season. An electric shock or electrical fire could darken a family’s festivities and lead to a holiday spent in an emergency room or worse.

To ensure customer safety, KUA offers these electrical safety tips and precautions:

* Before you begin decorating, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions concerning installation and maintenance of all electrical decorations.
* Indoors and out, use only lights and other electrical decorations that have been certified by a recognized independent testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Outdoors, use only light and other electrical decorations certified for outdoor use.
* Carefully inspect each decoration before plugging into an outlet. Cracked, frayed, loose or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items.
* Always unplug an electrical decoration before replacing light bulbs or fuses.
* Don’t mount or support light strings in any way that might damage the cord’s insulation. Never nail or staple light strings or extension cords.
* Do not connect more than three light string sets together. Light strings with screw-in bulbs should have no more than 50 bulbs connected together.
* Don’t overload extension cords — they can overheat and start a fire.
* Keep all outdoor extension cords and light strings clear of standing water and well protected from weather.
* Use caution when decorating near power lines. Contact with a high-voltage line could lead to electrocution.
* Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.
* Don’t allow children or pets to play with electrical decorations. Even small lighted decorations can produce a deadly electric shock if they are misused.
* Turn off all electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
* Plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters. Portable GFCIs can be purchased wherever electrical supplies are sold.
* Use the gripping area on a plug when removing decorative lights and electrical decorations from outlets.
* Discard broken or faulty lights and decorations.
* Send in warranty and product registration information to manufacturers from new toys or appliances. This allows for prompt notification in the event of a recall.

KUA wishes all of its customers a safe and happy holiday season.

Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 62,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.

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Chris M. Gent
(407) 933-9836
cgent@kua.com