Safe Decorating is Another Perfect Gift for the Holidays

are the divas of holiday decorations.

They are often the center of attention and they are very high
maintenance. They also can be very dangerous.

Two reminders of this occurred in less than a week last January when a fire
that followed a Christmas tree being ignited by a candle destroyed a
home in Azusa
and a blaze
fed by an aging, brittle tree demolished a North Hollywood home
Though three firefighters were injured in North Hollywood, it could have
been worse.

To help prevent accidents, Southern California Edison reminds
its customers that nothing is more important than safety
putting up and maintaining their decorations this holiday season.

“Christmas tree fires can be explosive and fill a room with choking
smoke and heat very quickly,” said Paul Jeske, SCE director of Corporate
Health and Safety. “For
safety, live trees should be watered daily
and artificial trees
should be fire resistant, and they must be kept at least three feet away
from heat sources like space heaters and candles. They also should never
be decorated with worn light stands or broken bulbs.”

Christmas tree fires, while not very frequent, are usually serious. U.S.
fire departments respond to about 210 home fires annually
because of
the trees that cause an average of seven deaths, 19 injuries and $17.5
million in damage. Home Christmas tree fires are five times more likely
to end in a death compared to home fires not involving trees. One-third
of Christmas tree fires result from electrical issues.

Meanwhile, power
lines should be a major concern when decorating outdoors
. Lights or
decorations should never be installed on them or utility poles and
decorators should stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.

SCE recommends some other safety tips for the holidays:

  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when decorating outdoors. Metal
    ladders conduct electricity. Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead
    power lines when using ladders.
  • Keep lights directly away from carpeting, furniture, drapes and other
    flammable materials.
  • Be sure electrical cords are not placed at an angle or position that
    pinches them, like in windows.
  • Use plastic zip cords when hanging lights instead of staples, tacks or
  • Use no more than three strands of lights per extension cord (or follow
    the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Use only decorations bearing the (UL), (CSA) or (ETL) labels.
  • Always unplug decorative lights when leaving home or before going to

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About Southern California Edison

An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison
is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population
of nearly 14 million via 5 million customer accounts in a
50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern


Southern California Edison
Paul Netter, 626-302-2255