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MidAmerican Energy News

MidAmerican Energy offers tips for lighting this holiday season safely

DES MOINES, Iowa – (Dec. 10, 2014) – As preparations for the holidays continue, MidAmerican Energy Company reminds customers to keep electric safety in mind during this busy time of year. Avoid potential hazards and make the season merry and bright by following these safety tips:

• Check your lights: Before you deck the halls, be sure all your holiday lights and decorations are in good working order. Look for frayed or bare wires, loose connections or damaged plugs. All electric holiday decorations should carry a label from a nationally recognized testing lab such as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), which means they’ve been independently tested for safety.
• Heed the rule of three: Never connect more than three strings of lights together on one outlet. Overloading an outlet may lead to a blown fuse, or worse, a fire. If you have lots of lights to plug in, use multiple outlets or a power strip with its own built-in surge protector.
• Be kind to your cords: Avoid using extension cords if you can; if you must use one, select a cord that’s long enough for your needs. Never place electrical cords in high traffic areas or run them under rugs or carpeting where they could become worn, overheat and cause a fire. Be sure the plug is not placed at a sharp angle and the cord is not being pinched by a door, window or heavy furniture. Don’t nail or staple cords to the wall or baseboard – this can damage the wire insulation. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong plug fit a two-prong outlet.
• Play it safe outdoors, too: Make sure all lights, extension cords and decorations on the exterior of your house are labeled for outdoor use. Outdoor lights and decorations should be plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. Fasten lights securely to trees or buildings to protect them from wind damage, but be sure you are not damaging the cord’s insulation when you attach them. If possible, use a wood or fiberglass ladder when hanging lights, and keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Keep electrical cords free of snow and ice and don’t run them through areas where melting snow and ice could pool.
• Be vigilant: Small children are fascinated by colorful holiday lights and shiny ornaments. If you have little ones around, avoid putting lights near the ground or on lower branches of the tree. Have tamper-resistant receptacles installed in place of standard outlets, or use safety covers on all unused electrical outlets, including those on extension cords or power strips. Always turn off and unplug lights when you leave the house or go to bed for the evening.

MidAmerican Energy Company provides electric service to 739,000 customers and natural gas service to 719,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s website, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via www.midamericanenergy.com.