Consumer Alerts

    Deck the Halls — with Caution


    November 30, 2016

    The holiday season is upon us, and families across Arkansas are taking steps to make their homes more festive with decorations. Many times this involves stringing lights on rooftops and lighting festive candles to bring more holiday cheer, but the joyfulness can come to a screeching halt if a mishap occurs.

    Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s alert to help homeowners avoid some common mistakes that could cause injury or destruction.

    “We all get caught up in the holiday season,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But with the excitement and activities, sometimes we can get careless. It is important to make safety a priority for yourself as well as your family because most incidents are avoidable.”

    Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans planning to hang lights this holiday season:

    • Select lights with labels indicating they have been safety tested by independent laboratories.
    • Check each set of lights. Look for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard or repair, if necessary, before use.
    • When using lights outdoors, make sure they are certified for outdoor use and are securely fastened to protect against damaging winds.
    • Only use insulated staples or hoods to affix lights. Never use nails or tacks.
    • Do not use more than three standard-size sets of lights per extension cord, and ensure that each extension cord is rated for the intended use.
    • Always turn off or unplug when you go to bed or leave your home.
    • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates about 12,000 emergency room visits for falls, lacerations and back strains while decorating for the holidays. Meanwhile, fires are also a concern with burning candles and fresh Christmas trees that are not properly watered.

    Use caution when climbing ladders and make sure all locks are properly engaged, keep your body near the middle of the step and face the ladder while climbing. Avoid using the top step of the ladder unless it was designed of that purpose.

    And to avoid fires caused by candles, never leave a candle unattended and keep them on a stable surface and away from items that can burn easily, like trees decorations, curtains and furniture.

    For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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