Holiday Lighting Safety—Tips to Follow

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

News Release 11-95
Date:  November 22, 2011 

The holiday season is a festive and joyous occasion. However, it's also a dangerous part of the year; over 400 lives are claimed, more than 1,600 injuries occur, and over $990 million in property damage is lost. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, taking simple, common-sense, life-saving steps will help ensure a safe and happy holiday. By taking some easy precautions, residents can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.

Lighting Safety Tips

  • Look for Underwriters Laboratories label on all holiday light sets to ensure UL standards are met.
  • Buy lighting sets according to indoor use, outdoor use, or both.
  • Before attaching lights, check for fraying wires, damaged sockets, or cracked insulation. If defects are found, replace the entire set.
  • To minimize fire and shock danger, make sure a bulb is in each socket. If a bulb burns out, leave it in and unplug the light set--then replace the bulb.
  • Don't connect more light strings than the manufacturer recommends.
  • Keep indoor extension cords and lights away from water.
  • All outdoor cords, plugs, and sockets must be weatherproof.

As a final precaution, make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, and ensure you have an escape plan, and practice it. 

For more information, call Daniel L. Schmidt or Captain I Randal Bittinger,
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, 703-246-3801 and TTY: 711.
Duty PIO (Weekends/After-hours): 703-877-3702
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs,
services and activities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided upon request.
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Fairfax, VA 22030

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