BEAUMONT, November 30, 2015 – In the holiday movie classic, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," Clark Griswold sets out to create a good old-fashioned family Christmas. He lights the outside of his house with 25,000 twinkling lights, which at first fail to work (due to his faulty wiring) and then temporarily cause a city-wide power shortage and wreak havoc for his neighbors.
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Don't be Clark Griswold. Follow these important safety and energy-saving tips and have a happy holiday season with your family, neighbors and friends:
Make sure the lights used are designated for outdoor use and the cords are not worn or frayed.
Use a non-conducting fiberglass or wooden ladder when working with strings of lights, and stay clear of all overhead wires.
Do not replace bulbs when the electricity is on.
Never let light bulbs touch flammable materials such as plastic or dry grass and leaves.
For outside use, work only with three-wire grounded extension cords.
Use rubber gaskets in light sockets or hang sockets downward to keep water out.
Keep connections and lights off the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes.
If using a live tree, make sure it is fresh and green, with needles that are hard to pull from the branches.
Place the tree in a stand with water, well away from heaters or the fireplace. Check water daily.
Examine all lights before putting them on the tree or using them in other home decorations. Do not use lights with frayed wiring or loose sockets, and make sure they have been tested for safety by an independent testing laboratory.
For greater efficiency and safety, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights.
Make sure all light sockets have bulbs in them. Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets.
Keep bulbs from touching tree branches. Never burn candles on or near the tree and never use flammable decorations.
Never use lights on a metallic tree. If the lights become faulty, the entire tree could be electrified.
Be careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or even whole circuits in the house.
Turn off decorative lighting when you leave the room.
Place wires where they cannot trip anyone. Do not run them under rugs.