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Christmas lights spark warning

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14 Dec 2017
MFB and CFA are urging Victorians to celebrate the festive season safely and avoid firefighters crashing their Christmas.

Fairy lights are a festive favourite but without proper precautions, these twinkling decorations can spark a fire.

CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said electrical fires were among the top causes of house fires each year but could easily be avoided by establishing some simple safety measures.

“Before putting up your Christmas lights, check that the lights are in good working order and have no missing bulbs or frayed cords,” CFA Chief Officer Warrington said.

“Never place lights too close to tinsel and flammable decorations or your tree may go up in smoke,” he said.

MFB Acting Chief Officer Greg Leach said firefighters attended several fires involving Christmas trees last season.

“The last thing you want is for firefighters to be called to your house this Christmas,” MFB Chief Officer Leach said.

“If you are using fairy lights, take care not to overload power points or piggy back adapters.

“Always turn your Christmas lights off when leaving the house or before going to bed to ensure they don’t overheat.

“And most importantly of all, ensure you have working smoke alarms to alert you in the event of a fire,” he said.

MFB and CFA have made a list and are asking community members to check it twice to stay safe this Christmas.

Top ten Christmas safety tips:

• When shopping for Christmas lights make sure you check that they meet Australian Safety Standards.
• Consider using battery-operated LED lights which don’t require electricity.
• Inspect your Christmas lights for any sign of damage or wear and tear.
• Don’t use light sets with missing globes.
• When decorating the outside of your home, choose lights and fittings designed for external use.
• Make sure you have a safety switch in your meter box or have a qualified electrician install one.
• Use no more than three sets of lights per power board, even if there are four or more outlets on it. Avoid using 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.

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The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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