As Christmas approaches and the fairy lights are brought out of storage, follow these tips to make sure your Christmas sparkles - without any sparks!
- Lights that have been stored away may have suffered damage. Make sure any frayed leads or broken connectors are replaced before use
- Tempting as it may be, never overload sockets with your Christmas lights as this could result in overheating, electric shocks, short-circuiting and potentially cause a fire
- To cope with weather, exterior Christmas lights should either be low voltage - 12V or 24V - or protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD) that will automatically kick into action and break the circuit in the event of an earth fault. Cables should never be fed through doors or windows, as this could cause damage.
- Ensure that cables are fully unwound. They can overheat and potentially cause a fire if they are left coiled on a reel.
- Trailing wires and lighting leads are one of the most common causes of household trips and falls. Ensure that any cables or extension leads are not left across pathways, and cannot be easily grabbed by children and pets.
- Never have any lighting equipment, decorative or otherwise, near a water source.
- Turning off the Christmas lights before going to bed or when away from home will greatly reduce the risk of fire.
- If you need to buy new lights as last year's ones really have seen better days, make sure these are up to the required safety standards.
- Make sure lights you buy are suitable for the voltage they are being connected to. In Australia this should be 240 Volts.