Stuff stockings with safety

sb10067962ab-001Are you running out of gift ­giving ideas? As time runs out for ­buying this year’s presents, ­remember there are gifts that could save the life of someone you love. To help you in your last-minute shopping and ­showing a bit of love, we’ve picked our top five gift ideas. They might not create the excitement of an iPad or Microsoft Xbox, but they don’t cost as much either, and will make great stocking stuffers and protect our most important gifts — our family and friends.

The holidays are a time to let ­people know how much you care about them. A practical gift that helps keep loved ones safe continues to say ‘I care about you’ long after the holidays.

Safe Electricity’s top five safety gift picks for 2014 are:

Appliance Timer with a Safety Turn-off: Is there someone on your list who is repeatedly ­forgetting to turn off a curling iron or other small appliance? An appliance timer with a safety turn-off can be found for around $8 and provides an added layer of protection when a small appliance, such as an iron or space heater, accidentally gets left on. It has an auto shut-off timer that helps protect homes from fire or burn hazards.

Portable/Extension Cord GFCI: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) detect and prevent shocks. You may have noticed them in many bathrooms, ­kitchens, and other places where water and electricity may meet. They are the outlets with red and black buttons. If you know someone who works outside often, a portable GFCI is a perfect gift. It offers protection from shock regardless of the electronic or tool that’s plugged into it, ­helping keep your loved ones safe ­wherever they work. A GFCI extension cord starts at around $25.

Tamper Resistant Outlets or Outlet Plugs: Young children may put fingers or other small objects in ­outlets without under­standing the ­dangers of electricity. It is up to you to understand the dangers of electricity and ­prevent ­accidents. Tamper Resistant Outlets (TROs) provide a ­permanent solution. TROs have shutters that stay closed unless a plug with two prongs is plugged in. If you do not have a thorough under­standing of electricity, TROs should be installed by a ­professional. Another option is simple outlet plugs. A TRO costs less than $2. Packs of ­multiple outlet plugs start at around $3.

Non-contact Voltage Tester: This gift is for the do-it-yourselfer. This is an inexpensive tool that detects the presence of voltage without touching a bare wire. The tester uses non-contact voltage detection technology to identify ­voltage in cables, cords, wires, circuit ­breakers, lighting fixtures, switches and outlets. Prices start around $12.

Molly Hall is Director of Safe Electricity. E-mail Safe Electricity is a public awareness program of the Energy Education Council.
Molly Hall is Director of Safe Electricity. E-mail Safe Electricity is a public awareness program of the Energy Education Council.

Power Strips and Smart Strips: Many people will get new electronics for the holidays. Help your friends power electronics safely with a new power strip. Choose a power strip that comes with a circuit breaker that will trip if the power strip becomes ­overloaded. Overloaded power strips are ­dangerous and can cause shocks and fires. Power strip prices start at around $7. Smart power strips are another option that add energy savings. Electronics that are turned off sometimes still draw power. So a control unit, such as a television or computer, is plugged into one outlet. The smart strip detects when the control unit is off and shuts off power to ­peripherals, like DVD players and printers. Smart strips can be found for as low as $22.

During the busy holidays Safe Electricity encourages you to take time to keep all of your celebrations safe. For more information, visit