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 December 8, 2015 - 11:36 AM EST
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Consumers Energy Offers 10 Electric Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy is offering 10 electric safety tips to help Michigan residents enjoy the holiday season.

"At Consumers Energy, safety is the foundation of everything we do. Our goal is for everyone to safely enjoy this special time of year filled with celebrations, family and friends. Following 10 simple electric safety tips can help ensure the holiday season is memorable for all," said Aaron Kantor, director of emergency management for Consumers Energy.

Electrical fires remain one of the top causes of home fires, and factored in an estimated 45,000 to 55,000 home structure fires every year since 2000, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Nearly 500 fire-related deaths and 1,500 injuries were also reported between 2007 and 2011, as well as a total of $1.5 billion in property fire damage.

Kantor recommended 10 tips to help ensure electric safety in the home:

  1. Install smoke detectors on every level of the home, and make sure at least one is located outside the sleeping area.
  2. Use holiday lights that are approved by a nationally recognized testing organization, such as Underwriter's Laboratory (UL).
  3. If you decorate a real tree, water it every day and prevent lights from coming into contact with tree branches.
  4. If you choose an artificial tree, be sure it is certified as fire resistant by looking for the UL label.
  5. For outdoor decorating, use only lights and power strips that have been approved for outdoor use.
  6. Before hanging your holiday lights, inspect them for frayed wires, broken sockets or other signs of wear and tear; then test each light string.
  7. Keep electrical connections off the ground and make sure wiring is clear of downspouts, railings and aluminum siding.
  8. Avoid running extension cords across long distances, under rugs or near doorways.  Never use extension cords with space heaters. 
  9. Turn off or unplug holiday lights when not in use. Never leave lights on unattended. Consider using a timer.
  10. Always keep a working fire extinguisher available.

While safety is the first concern, Kantor also suggested considering energy efficiency. Light-emitting diode (LED) decorative lights use up to 80 percent less energy than traditional lights and have a longer lifespan. LEDs are also cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire.

In an effort to ensure communities stay safe when emergencies do arise, Consumers Energy has a Public Safety Outreach Team that regularly works with and trains fire and police first responders. Since 2014, this team has trained over 4,000 police officers and firefighters to ensure awareness on how to respond safety to utility-related emergencies. 

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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Source: PR Newswire (December 8, 2015 - 11:36 AM EST)

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