It’s Electrical Fire Safety Week this week, and it’s also a time when many of us start to put our Christmas decorations up.
They only get used once a year, so decorations can sit up in your loft perishing without you knowing much about it. This is especially true for Christmas lights.
If faulty or not looked after properly, Christmas lights can be a fire hazard.
Electrical Safety First has some useful information about electrical safety at Christmas when it comes to Christmas lights, and we’ll share the best bits here.
Read and follow the instructions
It’s an obvious one, but one lots of us fail to do. Yes, Christmas lights might all be very similar – but they could have differences that are important to know about. Product misuse is one of the leading causes of electrical fires in the UK.
Check them over before you plug them in
Look for loose wires in your Christmas lights and ensure that they are not damaged or broken in any way.
Replace failed lamps
If you leave failed lamps in the lights, they could overheat. Make sure you replace them immediately to keep your family safe.
Use the same type replacement bulbs
Using different types of replacement bulbs can be dangerous. Make sure that you only use bulbs of the same type and rating as the ones that were originally in the lights.
Ensure everything is plugged in indoors
Even if the lights are suitable for outdoor use, make sure plugs and transformers are plugged in inside.
Make sure outdoor lights are used safely
Outdoor lights should be plugged into a 30mA RCD protected socket. This one is important – you could cause a fire if you don’t plug your outdoor lights in the right socket.
Keep lights away from flammable materials
Christmas lights will get hot, so it’s important that you keep the lights away from flammable decorations that could catch fire easily.
Switch them off
Before you go out or go to bed, switch off and unplug your Christmas lights. Not only is it a fire hazard, but it’s also a waste of electricity.
There are some things you should never do with Christmas lights to ensure you and your family’s safety. If you’re putting your Christmas lights up this Electrical Fire Safety Week, make sure you don’t do these things.
- Use indoor lights outside – outdoor lights are designed specially for this use
- Plug in lights when they’re still in the packaging
- Connect different sets of lights all together
- Remove or insert bulbs when they’re still plugged in – you could get an electric shock
- Try to repair faulty lights – just replace them
- Overload sockets – you could cause a fire. Try not to use extension leads
- Use lights that are damaged or faulty – it could result in a larger, more dangerous fault
As long as you follow these tips, you should get through Electrical Fire Safety Week without any problems with your Christmas lights. And if you weren’t planning on putting your decorations up yet – why not? Now you know how to keep safe!