NEW JERSEY – FirstEnergy Corp.’s annual “Merry & Bright” Holiday Lights Sweepstakes is back, and utility customers are once again invited to show off their best and brightest outdoor holiday lighting displays for the chance to win a weekly prize.
Customers can submit a photo or video of their outdoor lighting displays on their respective electric company’s Facebook® page until Friday, Dec. 17. One entry from each of FirstEnergy’s 10 utility companies will be randomly selected to receive a $100 Amazon® gift card on Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. The winning entries will be shared on Facebook.
Participants must be 18 years old and current FirstEnergy customers. Additional information and complete contest rules are available on Jersey Central Power and Light’s Facebook page.
Stop. Look. Live. – Decorate Safely Outdoors
Whether customers deck their homes for a chance to be a “Merry & Bright” winner or simply to spread holiday cheer, FirstEnergy reminds customers to be aware of potential electrical hazards around the home and to stay safe around power lines and other equipment when decorating outdoors. By taking the proper precautions, customers can protect their families and focus on enjoying the holiday season.
Each year, people are injured or killed by making accidental contact with electrical equipment or power lines. Keep these three words in mind while decorating your home for the holidays, especially when using equipment, such as a ladder, that extends your reach:
- Stop. Stop what you’re doing and stay at least 30 feet away from electrical equipment and downed or low-hanging power lines.
- Look. Look around for potential electrical hazards and ways you might come into contact with utility infrastructure and find a way to avoid the hazard. Call 911 for help.
- Live. Prevent serious injury or death by taking precautions to avoid accidental contact with electrical equipment.
Additionally, these best practices for installing lights and decorations outdoors can help safeguard your home throughout the holiday season:
- Do not install outdoor lights, inflatables and other decorations under or near any electric power lines. If an object comes in contact with electrical equipment, DO NOT attempt to remove it. Call 888-LIGHTSS (888-544-4877) so that a FirstEnergy crew can remove it safely.
- Check all lights for frayed wires or areas where insulation has pulled away from plugs or sockets. Discard and replace any damaged light strings.
- Do not hammer tacks or nails into the electrical cord when hanging lights. Instead, use clips to safely attach lights to the house.
- Use only extension cords that are approved for outdoor use. These cords must meet rigorous safety standards that indoor cords may not meet.
- Outdoor lights, inflatables and other decorations should be plugged into outlets protected by ground fault interrupters.
- Place outdoor lights on a timer or turn them off before going to bed. This also helps to manage electricity use during the holiday season.
- Lights should be approved by Underwriters Laboratory. “UL” will be clearly displayed on the tag, signifying the product has been inspected for potential safety hazards. Red UL marks indicate the lights are safe for indoor/outdoor use, and green UL marks indicate the lights are only safe for indoor use.
For more outdoor safety information for families, contractors, first responders and more, visit FirstEnergy’s “Stop. Look. Live.” public safety website.
Indoor Lighting Safety
As you adorn your home with twinkling lights, trees, wreaths and more, take the appropriate steps to ensure your decorations are hung with care:
- Inspect all light strings and cords for any damage, including frayed wires or insulation that has pulled away from light sockets or plugs. Also check for damage from chewing or scratching if there are pets in the house. Discard and replace any damaged light strings.
- Replace traditional candles with flame-free options like flashlights or battery-operated candles.
- No more than three strings of standard indoor lights should be connected to any extension cord.
- Make sure cords are placed where they won’t be stepped on, kinked or pose a tripping hazard.
- Lights should not touch drapes, furniture or carpeting.
- Lights should be turned off overnight and when no one is home.
- Water live trees daily to ensure they stay hydrated.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions