Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. has some timely lighting tips aimed at making this holiday season brighter.

First, consider using holiday decorations featuring energy-efficient LED (light emitting diode) fixtures instead of conventional incandescent bulbs. LED lights will help save on electric bills and help “green” the environment. LED lights use nearly 90 percent less electricity than older bulbs, which means fewer carbon emissions in the earth’s atmosphere. For more energy and money saving tips, go to www.oru.com/thepowerofgreen.

O&R also offers some safety statistics, thanks to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Each year, over 12,500 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday lights and trimmings, according to the commission’s figures. In addition, Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in about $10 million in property loss and damage each year.

O&R offers some helpful advice from the commission so that you and your family won’t become part of these statistics.

  • When purchasing decorative lights, make sure they have the approval label of a testing laboratory like Underwriters’ Laboratories, that familiar UL symbol.
  • Check older light sets to make sure their wires are not frayed or have worn bare spots on them, and replace them if they are damaged.
  • Use no more than three standard-sized sets of lights per extension cord.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and injure anyone touching it. Instead, use a colored spotlight above or below the metal tree, never attached to it.
  • Always unplug holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
  • If you decorate outdoors, as many of us do, make sure to use lights designed for exterior use. Those units are typically more sturdily constructed, and can stand up better to winter wind and weather.
  • Don’t overload your household electric outlets with multiple plugs on multiple plugs.
  • And, running extension cords under rugs presents a potential safety hazard, and a potential fire hazard.


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