BY SCOTT BOHN – Disaster Preparedness Committee
Electrical circuit safety – The National Electrical Code® (NEC®) requires that each residential kitchen have at least two 20-amp 120-volt circuits. Typical roaster ovens 10-12 amps, hot plates 8-12 amps, Crockpots 2-6 amps, so split the appliances up accordingly.
Extension cord and multi-outlet splitter safety – Extension cords and multi-outlet splitters are electrical hazards. They also provide tripping hazards and can hang from counters where a child may be able to grab them. They are easier to overload than electrical circuit wiring and do not offer overcurrent. A standard 13-amp light-duty cord plugged into a 20-amp circuit could be overloaded without the circuit ever tripping.
Ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) – GFCI protection should always be utilized for appliances placed on kitchen countertops. Not having the necessary GFCI protection is another reason to not use extension cords.
Don’t overdo it on the lights – Never connect more than three strands of lights together. Check for UL symbols and wire color: Green for indoor use and red for indoors and outdoors. Check the wires for signs of fraying or cracking. Unplug all indoor lights when you leave.
Your tree is a fire risk, even if it’s fake – Keep trees at least three feet away from all heat sources (like fireplaces, radiators, and heat vents). If you have a real tree, remember to keep it watered. Choose a sturdy stand that can hold one quart of water per inch of trunk diameter.
Candles are pretty, but they’re still open flames – Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from surrounding objects. Trim wicks to a quarter inch before lighting. Only let candles burn for one hour for every inch of diameter.
Remember to secure the house – Lock up, tell neighbors you trust that you’re going away, and have them keep an eye out. Stop your mail and put lights, both inside and outside, on timers so they go on and off at random times.