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Dec 1, 2010 7:25 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Safe Decorating

Christmas decorations are going up all across Acadiana. But, if you haven't decked your home with dazzling lights just yet, energy and fire officials have tips that could save you money and worry.

Cleco is encouraging families to swap out old lights with light emitting diode or LED lights. They say the savings can go over 90 percent. For example, the cost to operate C7 lights for one month is about $90 and the cost for LEDs is $0.72.

"They're efficient as far as energy and it doesn't get that hot so it's real safe for kids," said Lowe's manager, Peppy Glaze.

"Our most important message is to have a safe holiday season," said Marty Smith, manager at Cleco.

Smith says the electric company is not only encouraging customers to buy energy efficient lights, but also to follow safety measures when putting them up.

"Across the United States tragically there are a number of fires at homes due to Christmas decorations or improper use of lights. That's tragic anytime, but certainly during the holidays."

Here are some other tips:
Check for overhead power lines when stringing outdoor lights.
Watch for outlets with too many plugs and frayed cords.
Only use outdoor lights for outdoor decorating and protect electrical connections from rain and dampness by wrapping with electrical tape and keeping connections off the ground.
The company also suggests unplugging lights, indoor and outdoor, when away from home or while sleeping.

Cleco says avoiding these tips could lead to a fire. A warning fire officials agree with.

"Our concern with Christmas lights is the use of extension cords," said Alton Trahan, with the Lafayette Fire Department. "You want to make sure they're in good shape. Often times people try to use the cheaper or old ones. Those have a tendency to short out and catch fire."

For more holiday decorating safety tips, visit www.cleco.com.



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