It's that time of year again. Homes will soon be sparkling with holiday cheer, but it's important to keep safety in mind as you deck the halls.
"Respect electricity at all times," said Chip Arnould Entergy Gulf States Louisiana customer service manager in Southwest La. "If you're putting up outdoor lights, stay away from overhead power lines and the line that brings service to your home. Use a fiberglass or wooden ladder that doesn't conduct electricity, and never, ever replace bulbs when the electricity is on."
Entergy also suggests keeping outdoor lights and their connections off of the ground by hanging them over wooden stakes.
Always check out your Christmas lights before use, Arnould said. Are they worn or frayed? Have they been tested for safety by an independent testing group?
"Always make sure all of the light sockets have bulbs in them," said Arnould. "Children are fascinated by lights and could put their fingers in empty sockets... for greater efficiency and safety, use smaller, cool-burning LED lights."
Whatever lights or decorations you use, be careful not to overload extension cords, outlets or circuits.
If you are using a live Christmas tree, make sure it is fresh and green with firm needles. Remember to place the tree in a stand with water, which should be checked daily. Do not place the tree near any heat sources, such as a fireplace, a heater or candles.
Never use a metallic tree. If decorative lights on the tree malfunction, the whole tree could become electrified.
"Finally, whether your holiday lighting is indoors, outside or both, always turn holiday lights off when away from home or asleep," said Arnould. "You'll save money and help ensure a safe and happy holiday season."