The holiday season is a time for being reflective and joyful. It is also a time for celebration, decorations and getting together with family and friends. During this time, let us remember to be safe too.
Con Edison encourages its customers to follow some simple safety tips during this festive month when it comes to basic electrical safety, holiday lighting safety, gas safety and severe weather safety.
Use extension cords sparingly and only on a temporary basis. Too many appliances plugged into one cord causes overheating. Overheated wires start one of every six home fires.
Do not place power cords under carpets, rugs or furniture, and never staple or nail cords to walls, baseboards or other objects.
Never remove the third prong from a plug to make it fit a two-prong outlet. This could lead to an electrical shock.
Make sure your home includes ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which prevent accidental shocks by shutting off the circuit if they sense a “leak” of current off the circuit, and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which help prevent fires by shutting off the circuit.
Holiday Lighting Safety
Make sure that holiday lights carry the seal of approval of a recognized safety-testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Before reusing electrical devices kept in storage, inspect for worn or frayed areas and breaks or brittleness, particularly at the plugs and connections. Replace defective lights and cords. Throw out any frayed wires or extension cords.
Outdoor displays require outdoor, exterior-rated extension cords, fixtures and bulbs. Install or adjust outdoor electrical displays only during dry weather.
Never extinguish a pilot light. Blowing out the pilot does not stop gas from escaping.
Do not try to heat rooms with your range or oven. These appliances are not designed for space heating. Using a range or oven can cause a fire. It can also deplete oxygen levels and cause a buildup of lethal carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that can cause serious illness or death if inhaled in large concentrations for even a short period of time.
If you detect a strong gas odor, leave immediately, and take others with you. If the gas odor is faint, open your windows before leaving. Do not turn appliances or lights on or off (including flashlights), use a telephone or start a car. Doing so can produce sparks that might cause the gas to explode.
Keep the path and area around the gas meter clear so it can be reached in case of an emergency. Do not enclose your gas meter. Remove snow and ice from around your gas meter.
Severe Weather Safety
With the help of these safety tips, Queens residents can easily identify and eliminate many of the potential problems that may arise during the holidays. For more safety tips, visit https://www.coned.com/customercentral/safetytip.asp. Customers are also encouraged to visit the company’s new “Power of Green” web site at https://www.coned.com/thepowerofgreen/tips/001.asp for energy-saving tips.
Con Edison wishes all of its customers a happy and safe holiday season.
Marilyn Caselli is Senior Vice President of Customer Operations at Con Edison.