Illuminate the Holiday Season Safely! Let Lippolis Electric Tell You How!

For all of us, the busy months of December and early January are times full of family, good will towards all and copious amounts of celebration. One favorite holiday event is a drive taking in all the neighboring Christmas lighting. What better way to accent the festivities than with spectacular holiday lighting and decorations, both inside and outside of the home. Extension cords abound, crisscrossing lawns and carpets in a patchwork of interlocking cables powering all sorts of animated holiday figures, dangling ice sickles, menorahs and Christmas trees, all producing enough luminosity to justify Ray-Bans at night.

 Too often in a rush to get set up these dazzling displays, safety, specifically electrical safety, is lost in the commotion. The physics of electricity unfortunately never take a holiday and innocent oversights can lead to catastrophic consequences. Yet with a little effort and adherence, celebrating the holidays can pass quietly into photo albums without incident.

Here are some stats from the National Fire Prevention Association sure to jingle your bells.

From 2014-2018, the NFPA reports:

·    Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 44% of home Christmas tree fires (780 structure fires in that timeframe)

·    In one-quarter (25%) of the Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or electrical equipment, was too close to or inside the tree.

·    Holiday fires caused an annual average of three civilian fire deaths, 34 civilian fire injuries and $12 million in direct property damage.

Electrical safety and fire prevention go hand-in-hand-like wrappings are to gifts, smiling happy faces are to Christmas morning and Christmas is to New Years.

Follow these two checklists for a safe and healthy holiday.


▢ Set up holiday displays and lighting near known wall outlets-avoid use of extension cords at all costs.

▢ Do not set up holiday displays or lighting near ignitable fabrics and materials.

▢ Never run extension cords under carpets, rugs or floor mats. 

▢ Damaged cords, exposed wire, missing ground prong, should be replaced without delay.

▢ 90 days-that the length of time temporary lighting is allowed under the National Electrical Code. (There goes Christmas in July!)

▢ Know your total loads-extension cords are limited and manufacturers equip them with labels containing valuable information regarding use, wattage and rating of the cord.

▢ Use LED lighting whenever possible to keep loads under control

▢ Avoid using outlet adapters designed to expand an outlets’ use

▢ Avoid plugging a power strip into another power strip

▢ Plug-in style timers have load limitations as well. Read the package and back of the timer for overload thresholds. 

▢ If outlets are damaged or loose, call an electrician and have them   replaced with code approved arc fault and tamper resistant outlets


▢ Always, always plug outdoor extension cords into ground fault type outlets. Electricity, you and moist wet earth make a good pathway for current but a very bad combination for humans. GFCI outlets sense that imbalance and shut themselves off faster than Santa can navigate a chimney.

▢ Use only outdoor rated extension cords made with extra heavy duty

cords and water ingress resistant male ends

▢ Use extension cords with the 2, 3 & 4 female adapters built in to minimize excessive use of smaller extension cords

▢ Not all plug-in type timers are outdoor rated. Take the time to read the packaging

▢ Do not lay extension cords across walkways, steps or doorways as they pose a serious tripping hazard

▢ Damaged cords, exposed wire, missing ground prong, should be replaced without delay.

▢ When not at home, it is a good suggestion to prevent unnecessary electrical exposure to the general public (and your personal liability) by turning off all outdoor decorations.

▢ Consider having additional GFCI outlets strategically placed around your property thus thoroughly eliminating the need for extension cords.

One of the greatest gifts we can give one another, now and throughout the coming new year, is safety. 

We wish to end with warm holiday wishes to all of our readers and customers, both present and future. May your holidays be bright, filled with peace and joy to your family and may all our homes abound with the magic of this special time of year. 


Lippolis Electric, Inc. | 538 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564 | 845-855-1426 |