With the festive season fast approaching and many people already starting to deck their houses out in decorations, RACQ is warning of the potential fire risks from Christmas lights.
Spokesperson Kirsty Clinton warned aged, faulty or incorrectly installed lights and electronic decorations posed a serious safety threat to families if basic safety checks were not performed each year.
“RACQ research shows 48 percent of home fires experienced by respondents were caused by electrical faults, so it’s important people are vigilant as they begin to decorate their homes for Christmas,” Ms Clinton said.
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“There are some simple safety checks people should be doing each year to protect their home from potential fire.”
One of the main tips Ms Clinton suggested was to avoid overloading power boards.
“When setting up fairy lights and other electrical decorations, never overload power boards by piggy-backing double adaptors – only one item per socket should be used.
“It’s also important to take a moment to inspect lights for any visible signs of damage to cords or plugs, as they can become frayed and broken after years of use or while in storage during the year.
“It’s also essential all lights purchased have an Australian Standards label and are used for their correct purpose, for example, indoor lights should never be used outside.”
Ms Clinton said the placement of Christmas lights should also be carefully considered.
“Lights generate significant levels of heat and shouldn’t be positioned next to paper or other flammable decorations,” she said.
“We also recommend not leaving lights unattended for long periods, particularly if nobody is home or overnight.”