It’s nearly that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner and the shops are filling with trees and decorations. A popular festive activity is to decorate your South Coast home and Christmas tree with Lights, illuminated decorations and props.
What starts as a fun and festive activity can turn dangerous and devastating if the lights are not handled, displayed, stored and used correctly. Fire and rescue NSW covered Christmas lights in a fire free blog that discussed the possible issues and tips of what to look for with Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge and Emergency Services Minister, Steven Whan.
According to the article, ‘Fair Trading investigators have removed three types of potentially dangerous lights and five types of Christmas decorations from the marketplace during a compliance blitz.’
Other important and informative points from the article:
“Fair Trading investigators have inspected 13,281 electrical items at 212 retail stores and six markets in 39 suburbs and towns across the State,” Ms Judge said.
Dangerous lights and decorations were all imported from overseas, available for sale at markets and discount stores.
Twenty-five traders have been issued with first offence warning letters and three traders have been issued with $500 penalty notices for second offences.
Minister for Emergency Services Steve Whan said over-enthusiastic decorating could lead to overloaded electrical circuits.
“We strongly recommend homeowners do not go overboard on the double adapters or place electrical cables where they could get damaged,” Mr Whan said.
Indoor lighting and power cords are not waterproof so they should not be used outdoors as they can cause fires and electrocution.
Synthetic Christmas trees can be highly flammable so only custom made lights and decorations should be used.
Ms Judge said the easiest way to know if an item is approved is to check for the approval mark.
“Product safety standards are there to protect the community and the majority of traders abide by them, but a savvy shopper should check for approval marks.”
Australian Standards and Approval
Tim Powell from South Coast Electrical Solutions showed us how to look for the approval tick in a recent interview with Business Develop Manager, Karmen Ison. Tim, our qualified, experienced and trusted local South Coast Electrician also demonstrated how to check your lights and shared a few other tips.
Head over to Facebook to watch the informative and helpful video.
Emergency Services Minister, Steven Whan urged families to check electrical goods for faults and said that consumers should use the following electrical safety tips this Christmas:
Use extra low voltage – particularly for outdoor displays
Never use illegal alterations to fixed wiring to connect lights or other equipment
Only use ‘outdoor’ approved lights and transformers for outdoor displays
All connect leads or power boards to circuits protected by a safety switch
Never overload power boards by connecting an excessive number of lights
Ensure that power boards are not exposed to the weather unless designed to do so
Displaying lights safely
Purchasing approved products is one aspect of the potential danger, installation and set up of the lights and decorations is the other. A few tips from Tim:
Check your lights for indoor and outdoor instructions and use them as advised on the label. Outdoor lights may still have transformers that require indoor use
Only use power boards with a circuit breaker and never overload a board
Watch for over head power lines and avoid them at all times
Using Solar light displays will avoid the need to plug into your home power source, but if you are using power, safety switches increase safety
Check for recalls of current and previous purchases
Check lights for physical damage before displaying them
You can head to www.recall.gov.au to check this year and previous years’ purchases for recalls. We were surprised to learn that over the last 3 years there have been a number of recalls of Christmas lights from popular Australian Retail stores.
We don’t aim to dampen the excitement for the Christmas 2017 celebrations, but we do hope that you have a safe and happy Christmas.