Dominion Virginia Power Offers Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

Dec 4, 2009

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays are one of the busiest and potentially most distracting times of the year, so Dominion Virginia Power is encouraging its customers to be sure to follow safe practices when decorating.

"We encourage our customers to enjoy the holidays while remaining as safe as possible," said Paul D. Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion Virginia Power. "Lights can add a wonderful touch to the season and do not cost much in terms of electricity, but it is important to use them carefully."

Electrical safety for customers, employees and people on the job is a top priority for Dominion. The company encourages customers to select holiday lighting that uses LEDs (light emitting diodes), which not only use less energy and cost less to operate than incandescent lights but also are safer because they generate less heat.

Additional information on electrical safety is available on the company's Web site at

Dominion Virginia Power safety experts recommend following these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs regarding holiday lighting:

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "fire resistant." The label does not mean the tree is not flammable, but it does mean it is more resistant to burning.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, and the needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin. When tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
  • When putting up a tree at home, set it up away from fireplaces, radiators or other heat sources. Heated rooms dry out live trees rapidly, so be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic, and do not block doorways.
  • Indoors or out, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, such as UL or ETL. Inspect and replace any damaged or frayed sets. Plug outdoor lights only into circuits with a ground fault interrupter. Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Be especially careful to stay away from all power lines when installing or taking down outdoor lights.

Since hundreds of fires and injuries occur every year during the holidays, check out additional safety tips at and

"Fires unfortunately claim lives every year during the holiday season," said Virginia State Fire Marshal Charles E. Altizer. "Most of these could be prevented if we all just took enough care to practice basic safety with our holiday lighting, Christmas trees and other decorations. I urge everyone to be careful this holiday season."

To report a downed power line or other power company equipment that appears unsafe, call Dominion immediately at 1-888-667-3000.

Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage systems and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at

SOURCE: Dominion Virginia Power

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