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Electrical Safety Advised for Holiday Decorations

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Nov. 21, 2011 – Thanksgiving weekend for millions is when the boxes of lights come out and the decorating begins. Unfortunately, every year people are hurt in decorating accidents. The U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission reports that during the two months surrounding the holiday season, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to holiday decorating.

Keep your holiday season safe and bright, and learn from the tragic experience of Shawn Miller who was helping his mother light her yard for the holidays.

“I was just hanging Christmas lights at my mom’s house like I do every year,” Miller said. “Only this time, I was decorating a new area – the trees that lined the front of the yard.” As he tossed lights up into the trees, 7200 volts of electricity entered his body, traveling from the overhead power lines through his strand of lights. He suffered 27 exit wounds and the loss of his left hand, among other injuries.

“Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside,” Miller urges, “especially power lines and the service connection to your home. Make sure to keep yourself, ladders, and lights far away from them. I’m lucky to be alive. I want everyone to be careful – be aware of power lines.”

“Shawn Miller has a lot to teach us about electrical safety, and we are grateful he has shared his story,” says Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program.

“Had I known more before this happened, I might still have two hands and the job I loved,” Miller said. “I want to help people learn from what has happened to me. Safe Electricity is helping me help others.”

Hall encourages people to visit http://www.SafeElectricity.org to see the video of Miller’s story, as well as a checklist of safety tips when decorating outdoors and inside.

Safe Electricity is the award-winning program of the Energy Education Council, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting electrical safety and that also provides information on energy efficiency and renewable resources. Energy Education Council members include more than 400 utilities in 26 states as well as energy-related organizations and educators.

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