Holiday Safety Tips
To help its customers stay from harm during this period, MidAmerican Energy offers the following holiday safety tips:
- Remember the Gift of Safety: Every home should have carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. If yours is without any of these, consider making them an early holiday gift.
- Set a Holiday Reminder: Let the holidays serve as a reminder to get an annual furnace inspection. A malfunctioning furnace could cause a fire or other problems, including leaking carbon monoxide.
- Inspect Your Lighting: Check all holiday lights for broken or cracked sockets. Look for frayed or bare wires, loose connections or damaged plugs. Throw away damaged light sets. Make sure all electric holiday decorations have the UL label.
- Use Caution With Cords: Try to avoid using extension cords. If you must use them, never place the cords under carpets, rugs or other objects where they can become worn and overheat.
- Heed the Rule of Three: Never overload outlets. Use no more than three standard-size light sets on each outlet. Using power strips helps because they have their own circuit breaker.
- Avoid Mixing Metal and Lighting: Avoid hanging metallic decorations on a tree that has electrical decorations on it. The metallic decorations can become charged with energy, resulting in shock or electrocution. Don't hang lights on a metallic tree; use remote spotlights instead.
- Stay Alert Outdoors: When decorating outdoors, stay well clear of all electrical lines. Use extra caution when erecting metal ladders. If you use a pole to hang lights in high places, make sure it is constructed of an insulating material such as wood or fiberglass. Keep electrical cords out of water or places where melting snow and ice will pool.
- Mulch, Don't Torch, that Tree: Never burn a Christmas tree in your fireplace. The high heat and flames can ignite creosote and cause a flue fire. Many communities have programs to collect and recycle trees as mulch.
- Give Heaters Space: Do not place decorations or flammable objects near an open flame, stove or space heater.
- Get Traction: Falls are the most common cause of accidents treated in emergency rooms. Keep a supply of ice-melting salt handy by all exterior doors, and use it on steps and walks whenever there's a threat of snow, sleet or freezing rain. Even heavy frost can turn some surfaces dangerously slick. Make sure entrances and walks are well lit.