Entergy offers holiday safety tips

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2008

BATON ROUGE — As the holiday season gets underway, Entergy Louisiana, LLC reminds customers that a check of electric lights and decorations before installation can provide peace of mind and help ensure a safe holiday season.

“We want our customers to enjoy themselves this season, but we also urge them to use extreme caution around electricity,” said Sheila Young Butler, customer service manager for St. James and St. John Parishes. “Contact with electricity can result in serious injury or even death.”

Every year, tragedy strikes during the holiday season when house fires start because of faulty or damaged electrical cords and improper use of electrical outlets and electrical decorations.

According to the National Fire Protection Association Web site (www.nfpa.org), during the four-year period of 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 240 home fires that started with Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of 16 deaths, 25 injuries, and $13.1 million in direct property damage. During 2005, an estimated 15,600 home structure fires were started by candles.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) Web site (www.holidaysafety.org) reports that 20 percent of Americans do not take the simple step of turning off lighted decorations before going to bed and that 34 percent of Americans do not agree that electrical products are a leading cause of house fires.

For additional information, the Web site has print, audiovisual and multimedia English-and Spanish-language educational materials that can be customized and downloaded or provided upon request. These holiday resources can help identify electrical hazards in the home, and protect loved ones from electrical dangers this holiday season.

To help make this the safest holiday season possible, Entergy Louisiana offers these safety reminders.

Indoor Lighting

– Do not overload electrical circuits.

– Do not use more than three sets of standard lights on each extension cord.

– Do not insert new bulbs or change fuses when light sets are plugged in.

– Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture and drapes.

– Turn off decorative lights before you go to bed or leave home.

– Make sure household smoke detectors are working properly.

Outdoor Lighting

– When hanging lights around your roofline or in trees, be sure to survey the area for overhead power lines and maintain at least a 20-foot distance.

– Use only outdoor extension cords with molded plugs and sockets.

– Keep all electrical connections off the ground and hang sockets downward to prevent water from seeping into them.

– Do not run electrical cords through door or window opens where they can be damaged.