As Halloween approaches, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns will begin to illuminate neighborhood streets. Before you get swept up in the ghoulish spirit, keep in mind that many decorations, especially those of electrical nature, can pose serious risks. Follow these safety tips and make sure your Halloween is as safe as it is fun.
Some decorations are graded for outdoor use, others indoor only. Make sure you know which one you have before placing them on the lawn for trick-or-treaters to trample. Luckily, electrical products come with labels marked “for outdoor use only.” While you’ve got your reading glasses on, look for UL, ETL-SEMKO, or CSA testing approval.
Securing Power Cords
Just because you’re dressed as Rambo, doesn’t mean you should dust off the nail gun to hang up one string of lights. In fact using nails or staples at all can cause damage to a cord’s insulation and cause a fire and shock hazard. Try using zip ties instead and leave a little slack for when it’s time to cut them down.
Electrical Outlets and Power Source
It is also important that these outdoor decorations be plugged into the proper receptacles. Make sure that they are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters or GFCIs. For an in depth look into GFCIs and the National Electrical Code, check out the breakdown segmentfrom last month’s nec connect Webisode.
Visibility and Safety
Never underestimate a person’s ability to not see something. Especially if they're looking through two holes in a bed sheet. For this reason, keep electrical cords away from doorways and places that people will be walking. This will not only prevent tripping, but further hazards from wires being torn out of sockets.
Unplug Decorations Before Bed or Leaving The House
“Did I leave the oven on?” is a typical question to ask before leaving the house. But we’re not used to asking ourselves, “Did I unplug Frankenstein?”
Go ahead and give yourself a reminder to turn off all electrical decorations and put out any open flames before calling it a night or leaving for the weekend.
From the NFPA, have a safe, and fun Halloween.