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Safe electrical tips for holiday decorations


“Is your house on fire, Clark?”


“No, Bethany, those are Christmas lights.”


Anyone who has seen the holiday classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” knows that Clark Griswold’s decorations were not only ridiculous, but the way he went about hanging them could’ve killed him.


While that film was full of laughs, it should be understood that holiday decorations, when not used properly, can cause safety hazards, including fires.


You want everyone to be safe during the holiday season so please take some precautions when decorating this year.


To get started, inspect each set of your lights. There should be bulbs in each socket. Always unplug lights before changing bulbs, replacing fuses or making any other repairs. If there are frayed wires or cracks, go ahead and toss the lights in the trash.


Make sure the lights you’re using have been approved by “UL.” It should be marked on the tag. Also make sure to only use indoor lights indoors. In addition, be careful in making sure you never overload any of your electrical outlets.


When using outdoor lights, make sure to only use extension cords that are designed for outdoor use and utilize heavy duty ones. You’ll also want to plug these lights and inflatable décor into circuits protected by GFCIs. When hanging them outdoors, do not put tacks or nails in the electrical cord. Instead, purchase clips from a store such as Ace Hardware. Furthermore, if you reside close to overhead power lines, be extra careful around them.


When decorating indoors make sure none of the lights are too close or touching furniture, drapes or carpeting.


Those who will decorate a real tree need to keep it away from heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators and heaters.


Keep these tips in mind and you can enjoy holiday music rather than turning Talking Heads’ lone Top 10 single into a sad reality.


For household tools, supplies and more, visit Bjorkman's Ace Hardware, 4520 W. Crystal Lake Rd., McHenry. (815) 385-3660.



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