Home holiday safety tips

December 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're trying to cut costs this holiday season, you should be careful not to skimp on safety. Consumer affairs manager and electrical engineer for Underwriters Laboratoreis, John Drengenberg, shares his safety advice.

Gift of safety tips

· Shop at retailers you know and trust, whether online or in the mall. Many reputable retailers require their products to be UL-Listed, meaning the items have been rigorously tested and evaluated for potential risk of fire, shock and/or personal injury.

· Look for the UL mark - the letters "UL" inside a circle - and the word "Listed" in capital letters on the product or its packaging to determine whether the product has been properly certified.

· Examine packaging. Be wary of products in boxes or packages that do not offer a brand name, the manufacturer's name with contact information for reporting problems, and the product name.

· When purchasing big-ticket items like TVs or laptops, research the product's safety and customer satisfaction records with reputable independent ratings organizations like Consumer Reports. Pay close attention to the average safety and repair rating of the item.

Holiday decorating safety tips

· When you bring your holiday tree home, cut one or two inches off the bottom and place the tree in water as soon as possible.

· Keep your tree a safe distance (at least three feet) from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other sources of heat.

· Carefully inspect each electrical decoration - new or old - before plugging it in. Cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new, UL-Listed decorations.

· Be sure to use light strings that bear the UL Mark -- the UL Mark on a product means that UL has tested samples of the product for risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards.

· Stay away from power lines when putting up outdoor decorations! Use only wooden or fiberglass ladders near power lines, as aluminum ladders can conduct electricity.

· Take down holiday lights after a maximum of 90 days of use to prevent damage from weather conditions and neighborhood animals.

About Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 21 billion UL Marks appearing on 72,000 manufacturers' products each year. UL's worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 63 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 99 countries.

For more information, visit www.UL.com/newsroom


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