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Taking basic precautions for Halloween festivities has always been a part of the preparations. Requirements for kids walking the neighborhood at night and other safety tips for the little monsters are essential talking points every year. But this Halloween, while decorating for the big party and planning what costumes to wear, make sure that you take into account electrical safety.
Each year home decorations (inside and out) seem to become more elaborate. Inflatable ghosts, lights that move to music and projections of ghoulish characters on walls are all part of the fun – but can lead to electrical hazards. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and other safety authorities there are several precautions that you can take to ensure that your household enjoys a safe and happy Halloween.
Universal Home Experts wants to make sure that our Houston neighbors practice electrical safety in addition to the basic trick-or-treating precautions. We’ve made a list of helpful tips to ensure everyone is aware of the electrical hazards that seem to haunt the season more and more every year.
Beware of Button Batteries – According to ESFI, every year about 3,500 people (of all ages) in the U.S. swallow button batteries (also known as watch or coin batteries). All battery-related fatalities that have been reported have involved button batteries – the kind that are used in many Halloween decorations. Make sure to have a talk with everyone in the household about the dangers of ingesting these products, which can sometimes be confused as candy. Never leave them lying around the house and make sure to dispose of used batteries responsibly.
Light Safety – Before you put up those holiday lights, make sure that each string has not been damaged. Whether the lights are new or have been in storage for a while, always check for cracked or broken lights, signs of wear and exposed wiring. Be sure to plug each strand in to make sure that the lights are working and none of them have a short or blown bulb.
Indoor Decorations – Keep all electrical decorations close to wall outlets and make sure any extension cords are kept away from high traffic areas. While it’s fun (and frightening) to have them on at night, always turn off indoor lights and decorations before going to bed. Also, products marked “for indoor use only” should always be kept inside!
Outdoor Decorations – Giant yard inflatables have become increasingly popular, but they can be a big safety hazard – especially for small children. When they are not inflated (they must be plugged in to stay upright), their plastic casing can pose a suffocation hazard. Try to move the inflatable to a secure area when not in use. Also make sure that the extension cords of all outdoor decorations are out of the way of general traffic for trick-or-treaters.
Safe Decorations – When purchasing electrical decorations, check the packaging to ensure that they are approved for safe use by a nationally recognized testing facility such as UL or Intertek (ETL).
Flammable Décor – If you are decorating with crepe paper or other paper products that could be flammable, be mindful of open flames and other heat sources. Light bulbs and decorations with battery packs that heat up can easily set paper and plastic on fire. Keep any heat sources away from flammable products.
Flameless Candles – While candles have been used for years to light up jack-o-lanterns and other holiday décor, they are known fire hazards and their danger increases when children are in the mix. Battery operated candles flicker just like the real thing, last longer than their wax counterparts and are much safer. Jack-o-lanterns last longer without a hot flame inside them – and their “tops” can also be used to form a complete pumpkin (without fear of burning). Consider using flameless candles for all of your holiday festivities!
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Whenever things get scary (electrical shorts, power outages and overloads can be horrifying!), just remember that Universal can help with all of your electrical needs. Call us day or night at (713) 364-0226 for repairs, installation or service.