Media Contact: Vanessa McGrady, (626) 302-2255
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ROSEMEAD, Calif., Nov. 21, 2011 — Taking safety shortcuts can result in unwanted outcomes. That's why Southern California Edison (SCE) is asking its customers to take an extra 10 minutes to check for overloaded wall plugs, frayed light strings and other electrical safety and fire hazards.

"It seems like there’s never enough time to get all the preparations done for the holidays," said Bill Messner, SCE acting director of Corporate Environment, Health and Safety. "But this year, we hope people will take a few moments to make sure their equipment is in good working order, and that there are no unsafe situations in the home. Most ‘accidents’ are preventable."

National Fire Protection Association statistics indicate:

  • Thirty percent of all home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during December, January and February. 
  • Christmas tree and holiday decoration fires result in twice the number of injuries and five times more fatalities per fire than the average winter holiday fire.
  • On average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in 12 deaths, 24 injuries and $16.4 million in property damage.
  • Candles start 45 percent of home decoration fires.
  • Nearly 6,000 people a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations. More than half of these injuries involve falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords result in emergency room visits. Thirteen percent of these injuries involve children under 5; electrical burns to the mouth accounted for 50 percent of the injuries to young children.

Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

  • Put lights on a timer and unplug them when you leave the house. This also helps save energy and money.
  • Beware of counterfeit or poor quality electrical products. Use only lighting and cords approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent, nonprofit organization that tests electrical components and equipment for potential hazards.
  • LED holiday lights are a fraction of the cost to run, and don’t get as hot as incandescent holiday lights, reducing the chance of a fire. You can learn about free holiday light exchanges at http://www.sce.com/holidaylighting.
  • Only use electrical cords and light strands that are in good condition, and do not overload outlets – use only three strands per outlet or surge protector.
  • When hanging lights make sure staples, tacks and nails do not pierce or pinch wires. Loop a plastic zip cord around the lighting strand and secure the zip cord to the wall.

For more tips on lighting and safety during the holidays, see www.sce.com/holidaylighting.

About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

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Southern California Edison Asks Customers to Take 10 Minutes to Stay Safe This Holiday Season