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Christmas lights spark warning 2016

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19 Dec 2016
Are you competing to have the brightest most decorative house on the street when it comes to Christmas lights?

Electrical faults are one of the top five causes of house fires each year so MFB has some handy tips to help you avoid accidently sparking a fire or putting your home at risk.

When putting Christmas lights on your home, MFB Acting Chief Officer Paul Stacchino said to make sure that the lights are certified to the Australian Standards and that you untangle all cords and avoid overloading power boards.

“Before putting up your lights, check they are in good working order, with no missing bulbs or frayed cords,” he said.

“Never use more than three standard size sets of lights per power board, and make sure that electric cords are not covered by a rug or mat.”

Another handy tip is to use battery-operated LED lights instead of traditional Christmas lights, which can overheat if left on for extended periods of time.

“This option doesn’t require any electricity so you avoid the temptation to overload power boards,” Mr Stacchino said.

While the number of fires reported to MFB that were caused by Christmas lights is low, there is still the potential for incidents to be severe due to the combustible material these lights are attached to, such as a dry Christmas tree.

“As much as we love interacting with the community, we’d rather not interrupt your Christmas celebrations to extinguish avoidable fires involving Christmas lights,” Mr Stacchino said.

Top tips to keep fire out of your home this Christmas:

  • Inspect your Christmas lights and fairy lights for any sign of damage or wear and tear.
    Don’t use light sets with missing globes.
  • LED Christmas lights do not get as hot and use less power.
  • Use no more than three sets of lights per power board, even if there are four or more outlets on it. Never use double adaptors.
  • Make sure electric cords are completely uncoiled and are not placed under rugs or mats.
  • Place your tree as far as possible from any heat source, curtains or furnishings.
  • Maintain water in the base of natural Christmas trees to stop them drying out and remove lights once they show signs of drying. 
  • Take care with candles, incense sticks and oil burners. Always make sure they are away from flammable items such as curtains and that they cannot be knocked over.
  • Test your smoke alarms are working. Christmas tree fires can generate a lot of smoke quickly and could spread to the rest of the house.
  • Safely dispose of your Christmas tree after you take it down as they can provide fuel for fires if discarded inappropriately.

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