‘Tis nearly time to put up the Christmas decorations (December 1st traditionally), but we’d like to share with the Mudgee community, a warning that dodgy Christmas lights can be dangerous, and cause your festive season to be spoiled.
Australia’s peak electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) have warned consumers that it is important to make sure that lights meet Australian standards and that they are used in the intended manner.
To help ensure that we all stay safe this Christmas, here are seven electrical safety tips that the NECA believe we should all pay particular attention to over the festive season:
1. Look up and around – When installing Christmas lights and other decorations make sure there are no overheard power lines or exposed wiring near where you are working. This is especially dangerous if working near metal.
If you notice dangerous wiring, contact your local licensed electrician so the problem can be fixed.
2. Indoor or outdoor lights – Many Christmas lights are designed specifically for indoor use and are not manufactured for use outside. It is important to only use indoor lights inside and not in any areas where they are exposed to the weather.
If you need to use outdoor lights, make sure they a made for this purpose.
3. Use compliant products – Buy Christmas lights from reputable stores and ensure they comply with Australian standards or have a compliance number or the compliance logo (tick of approval).
When purchasing Christmas or decorative lights from overseas via the internet be careful as other countries have different electrical standards and the products may not meet Australian requirements.
4. Educate children – Take the time to explain electrical safety to your children. Some Christmas lights usually have bulbs that operate at extra low voltages but it is important children are taught not to play with electricity.
5. Avoid use in bad weather – During heavy rain and high winds turn off your Christmas lights. This type of weather can damage the lights and potentially cause electrical faults.
6. Never modify electrical products – It is illegal and dangerous for unlicensed people to carry out modifications to electrical installations or electrical products. Never modify or attempt to repair your own electrical products. Ask your local electrician for assistance.
7. Install a safety switch – Safety switches are an additional safety measure that can prevent electrocution. It is recommended that you have a safety switch installed on every electrical circuit in your home for added protection. Contact your local electrician for assistance.
If we all stick to the guidelines that the NECA have outlined above then we can all enjoy our Christmas lights and stay safer this festive season.