The holidays are upon us. For many, that means more celebrations with friends and family, travel, decorations, cooking and shopping. Access Energy Cooperative wants you to stay safe during the holidays, so here are a few tips to consider as you gear up for the season.

Inspect your seasonal items
Take a few moments to carefully inspect all your holiday items to ensure everything is in safe, working order. A few things to look out for include:
• Brittle insulation on wires
• Rodent damage to wires
• Chafed or frayed wires, especially at stress points
• Worn switches with the potential to short circuit
• Corroded metal parts
• Broken legs, unstable bases and other tip-over hazards

Extension cords are temporary
They are designed for temporary use and should never be used as a permanent or
long-term solution.

Never defeat safety devices
There are reasons why some devices have fuses, some plugs have three prongs instead of two and one prong is wider than the other on two-prong outlets. When those safety features get in the way of your grand holiday décor plans, you might be tempted to tamper with or defeat those features. Don’t do it! If your plugs won’t fit together, that means they’re not designed to work together. Rather than tampering with a safety feature, find a safe solution.

Look up and live
When working outside with a ladder, be mindful of the location of overhead power lines. Always carry your ladder so that it is parallel to the ground. Before placing your ladder in an upright position, look around to ensure you are a safe distance from any power lines.

Beware of power lines through trees
Over time, tree branches can grow around power lines running along the street and to your home. If those branches come in contact with power lines, they can become energized, too. If your holiday plans call for stringing lights through trees, this can create a safety hazard. If you notice tree limbs that are too close to electric lines, contact Access Energy Cooperative.

Stay away from your service connection
The overhead wire bringing power from the utility pole to your house is dangerous. You should treat this line the same way you’d treat any other power line on our system. Maintain a safe distance – even if that means a small gap in the perfect gingerbread house outline of lights. If you must perform work close to your service entrance, contact Access Energy Cooperative, and we can send out a crew to temporarily wrap the wires in a protective shroud.

Read the fine print
If you take a few minutes to read and understand the specifications and limitations of your lights and other electrified holiday decorations, you can save yourself a great deal of work and frustration in the long run. For example, the tag at the end of an extension cord will tell you if it’s rated for outdoor use, whether it will remain flexible in cold temperatures and how much energy it can safely handle. Similarly, holiday lights will tell you how many strings can be safely linked together.

Don’t forget about the kids…and pets
If you have small children, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time making sure every square inch of your home is childproof and pet proofed. But sometimes the joy of celebrating the holidays makes us a little less vigilant about electrical safety. Make sure your holiday décor receives the same level of safety scrutiny you apply to all of the permanent items in your home.