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Delmarva Power Reminds Everyone to Decorate Safely

Friday, December 12, 2008

How to Prevent Holiday Season Fires

NEWARK, Del. – With holiday preparations under way, Delmarva Power reminds customers that a safety check of decorative lighting before installation can provide peace of mind and a safe holiday.

Holiday decorations lift spirits and beautify communities, but when improperly placed they can become a hazard. Each year, holiday-season fires kill or injure more than 2,000 Americans and cause more than $990 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Delmarva Power offers the following holiday-decorating safety tips:

  • Use flame-retardant, flame-resistant or non-combustible decorations.
  • Only purchase lights and electrical decorations with UL, CSA or ETL-SEMCO certifications.
  • Inspect new and previously-purchased light strings. Replace any damaged parts before use.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Keep children and pets away from light strings and decorations.
  • Turn off electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Limit the use of candles. Keep them away from combustible materials and out of reach of children and pets.
  • Test your smoke alarms when entertaining guests and share with them your home fire escape plan.
  • Be careful when stringing holiday light sets together. For example, it is not recommended to string more than three light sets together. Also, make sure lights are not plugged in while putting them in their decorative place.
  • When using a ladder or extension pole to hang decorations, look up and around to make sure there are no overhead power lines in the vicinity.
  • Stay clear of electric power equipment to avoid the risk of electrical contact. Please refrain from placing unauthorized signs and/or decorations on utility poles.

For more holiday safety tips, go to delmarva.com or read the December issue of LINES, the company’s customer newsletter mailed monthly with energy bills.

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Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to nearly 500,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 121,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware .