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CEI HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

 CLEVELAND, Nov. 27 ~PRNewswire~ -- During the winter holidays, decorative lighting can make a big contribution to the spirit of the season. However, nothing dampens the holidays more quickly than news of fires or other tragedies caused by frayed cords, improperly used lights or overloaded electrical circuits, said the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI).
 David Kinkaid, a CEI lighting specialist, offers several common- sense tips for making sure that lights are used safely.
 "The first thing people should do is inspect their lights and cords," Kinkaid said. "Frayed wires or damaged sockets can be very dangerous. Don't use them. Why risk your family's safety?"
 When purchasing lights, lighted ornaments, extension cords or other electrical items, the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) seal indicates the item meets specific safety standards, he noted.
 Kinkaid also recommends that residents should be careful not to overload extension cords.
 "Never use more than three sets of standard lights on one indoor extension cord," he said. "And if you blow a fuse or trip a circuit breaker, that's a sure sign that you've overloaded the circuit or that one of the strings or cords is defective."
 Ground-fault circuit interrupters can also greatly enhance levels of household safety, and not just during the holiday season, Kinkaid said. These devices will stop the flow of electricity when they sense a fault in the circuit, thus averting a shock or other serious injury or safety problem.
 CEI also offers the following holiday safety tips:
 INDOORS
 -- Keep lights away from furniture, curtains and drapes, and carpeting. Some standard lights may scorch or damage items they touch.
 -- Use flame-resistant ornaments and decorations on or around a Christmas tree. This includes artificial snow.
 -- Don't put the Christmas tree near an active fireplace.
 -- Keep water in the tree holder so the tree doesn't dry out.
 OUTDOORS
 -- Use weather-resistant lights and other equipment designed, manufactured and specifically labeled for outdoor use.
 -- Use heavy-duty outdoor extension cords with molded plugs and sockets. Remember, cords along the ground can create a "tripping" hazard as well as an electrical hazard.
 -- Keep electrical connections off the ground and away from pools of water.
 -- Hang sockets facing downward to help prevent rain or snow from entering.
 -- Never use nails or tacks to attach extension cords or lights to wood. These may pierce the wires and cause shock or short circuits. Insulated staples should be used for this purpose.
 -- Avoid running outdoor lights or extension cords through door or window openings where they can be damaged.
 -0- 11~27~92
 ~CONTACT: Todd Schneider of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, 216-479-4905~


CO: Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company ST: Ohio IN: UTI SU:

BM -- CL001 -- 1764 11~27~92 09:24 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 27, 1992
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