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The twelve safety tips of Christmas – Sparkies issue Xmas lights warning!

Australians have been urged to make a safety list and check it twice as they start installing lights for the festive season, especially in outdoor areas. 

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has published a 12-point Christmas lights safety checklist to help homeowners understand the steps they should take to keep themselves and visitors safe throughout the festive season.

MEA spokesperson Chris Lehmann said every aspect of the process was critical in maximising safety – from buying quality products right through to careful installation.

“This is such a great time of the year, and it seems that more and more Australians are getting into the festive spirit by decorating their homes with lights,” Mr Lehmann said.

“Unfortunately though, more people are also buying suspect LED lights from overseas or installing lighting without taking basic but necessary steps to ensure safe operation.

“And while we don’t want to be the Grinch at Christmas time, Master Electricians Australia does want to remind people that safety and common sense are important elements in having a memorable Christmas.”

The safety checklist includes action items such as buying lights from recognised retailers, only using low-voltage lights, and ensuring outdoor installations are protected against the weather.

Christmas lights safety checklist
  1. Check for an Australian Approval number when purchasing lights such as Q12345, V01294, or N12345. Most times this is on the transformer.
  2. Visit www.productsafety.gov.au to check for any recalled Christmas lights – even the best retailers issue these from time to time.
  3. Ensure you have safety switches installed, and –check they work by pushing the test button and seeing the lights go out.
  4. Only use lights designed for external use.
  5. Use extra low voltage lights – look for lights with a transformer.
  6. Ensure your outdoor connections are weatherproof, and secured out of reach of children.
  7. Do not piggyback double adapters or power boards.
  8. Always keep clear of powerlines, swimming pools, driveways, and walkways.
  9. Do not run 240-volt cabling to outside garden beds and lighting.
  10. Always turn off outdoor lights during rain or storms.
  11. Go with solar lights if you can – it’s better for the environment, and safer for you.
  12. Consider getting an electrical safety check to test smoke alarms, safety switches, and all your lights and fittings to ensure your family isn’t just safe for Xmas, but for 2025.

Mr Lehmann recommended spending just a little more time on researching products that met the Australian standards. He also advised consumers to install safety switches, never to run 240-volt power leads to the outside, to garden beds, for example, and warned not to use indoor lights outside.

“Don’t be tempted to buy LED lights online or at the markets. They might be cheap but more than likely they won’t meet Australian standards.

“And before you plug any lights in, look them over for any cuts, nicks, exposed wire or discoloration to fittings. If your product is damaged or doesn’t look right, get it checked by a licensed electrician.

“We want to see everyone make it through the festive season and the school holidays, safe and sound, and not have a happy activity turn into a tragedy through lapses in safety.”

Chris Lehmann is available for interview. 
Please phone The SAS Group on 07 3221 9222 or 0467 792 013.

Download a copy of our handy safety checklist here

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