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DETROIT EDISON OFFERS TIPS FOR A SAFER HOLIDAY SEASON

 DETROIT, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- A good holiday theme this year, and every year, is safety. Just a few minutes checking electric holiday decorations will provide peace of mind during this festive time, according to Detroit Edison.
 Before stringing lights and setting up other trimmings, make sure electrical decorations have safety listings from Underwriters Laboratories, said Claudia Gabay, Detroit Edison's corporate lighting consultant.
 The "UL" designation ensures that the set has been designed for safe operation, Gabay said. She added that lights should be used as intended by the manufacturer -- either outdoor or indoor.
 "Faulty lights can cause electrical shock or start a fire," Gabay said. "We want everybody to have a safe holiday, and the best way to do that is to check for frayed wires, damaged sockets and cracked or missing insulation. If there are defects, the entire set should be replaced."
 Decorative lighting can be a safe, inexpensive way to kindle the holiday spirit, Gabay said. She said most lights cost from less than 1 cent to 7.5 cents per string to operate for six hours, depending on wattage. And for strands of lights that blink off and on, the cost is halved.
 Gabay offered the following suggestions for a safer holiday season:
 INDOOR LIGHTING
 -- Do not overload electrical circuits. Older home circuits usually cannot safely carry more than 15 amperes or 1,800 watts, with newer homes able to carry as much as 20 amps or 2,400 watts. For best results, load to only 80 percent of your home's maximum capacity.
 -- Do not leave cords hanging from table edges.
 -- Use no more than three sets of standard lights on each extension cord.
 -- Do not insert new bulbs or change fuses when light sets are plugged in.
 -- Keep lights away from carpeting, furniture and drapes. Some standard lights produce enough heat to scorch or damage items they touch.
 -- Do not put the tree near an active fireplace.
 -- Turn off decorative lights before you go to bed or leave home.
 OUTDOOR LIGHTING
 -- Use only outdoor extension cords with molded plugs and sockets.
 -- Place cords where people cannot trip over them.
 -- Keep all electrical connections off the ground and hang sockets downward to prevent water from seeping into them.
 -- Fasten extension cords or light sets to wood or hardboard surfaces with insulated staples; never use nails or tacks because they may pierce the wires and cause shocks or shorts.
 -- Cover outdoor plugs and connection joints with plastic wrap and seal the ends with electrical tape.
 -- Do not run lighting cords through door or window openings where they can be damaged.
 -0- 11/24/93
 /CONTACT: Scott L. Simons, 313-237-8808, or Lorie N. Kessler, 313-237-8807, both of Detroit Edison/
 (DTE)


CO: The Detroit Edison Company ST: Michigan IN: UTI SU:

SB -- DE011 -- 7597 11/24/93 11:05 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 24, 1993
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