Media Contact: Paul Netter, (626) 302-2255
ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 — The ghoulish decorations and costumes are a sure bet to scare up some fun this Halloween season, but much more frightening are the electrical and fire hazards associated with them. With this in mind, Southern California Edison (SCE) reminds its customers that a few simple precautions, especially with candles, decorations and costumes, can help ensure a safe Halloween.
One of the best ways to start is by never using burning candles to light jack-o’-lanterns or as part of any decorations because of their severe fire risk. Use battery-operated, flameless candles instead. However, for those who insist on lighting candles, never leave them unattended or too close to combustible materials.
This is crucial because Halloween decorations cause more than 1,000 home fires annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Additionally, from 2009-11, an estimated 11,300 fires were reported to fire departments across the country over a three-day period around Halloween that caused an estimated 30 deaths, 175 injuries and $96 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
“The easiest way to a safe Halloween is to make smart decisions from the start,” said Don Neal, SCE director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety. “From not using burning candles to buying costumes and decorations with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials, select with safety in mind.”
The savvy decisions extend to not throwing light strands or electrical cords into trees or vegetation near power lines and utility poles. People should also carefully inspect decorations for cracked or frayed wiring that may cause serious electric shock or ignite a fire, and they should keep electrical objects safely away from popular flammables like hay bales and cornstalks.
SCE recommends some other safety tips this Halloween season:
- Plug outdoor decorations into Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets.
- Before using any electrical products outside, make sure they are marked “for outdoor use.”
- Use plastic zip cords when hanging lights instead of staples, tacks or nails.
- Use no more than three strands of lights per extension cord. Overloads can cause fires or lines to short circuit.
- Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas, like walkways, where they can be a tripping hazard.
- Use only decorations bearing the UL, CSA or ETL labels.
- Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for Halloween-related product recalls.
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.