With Christmas rapidly approaching the peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), has issued a warning to the general public to take care when buying and installing Christmas lights and other electrical products.
Customers should make sure they only buy compliant electrical products and be on their guard when buying products manufactured overseas as they may not meet Australian standards.
NECA’s Chief Executive Officer James Tinslay said, “It‘s always a concern at this time of the year when Christmas lights and other electrical items appear in stores and on the internet as many do not comply with Australian standards.
“NECA recommends that consumers only buy electrical products from reputable stores and to check for the compliance mark or approval number. This is especially important if buying online as some electrical products are imported and are non-compliant with Australian safety standards and can be hazardous especially as a potential source of fires.”
It is also important to take care when installing the lights and maintaining them over the festive period.
“When installing Christmas lights and other decorations make sure there are no overheard power lines or exposed wiring near where you are working. This is especially dangerous if working near metal. If you notice dangerous or damaged wiring, contact your local licensed electrician so the problem can be fixed,” said Mr Tinslay.
“Many Christmas lights are designed specifically for indoor use and are not manufactured for use outside. It’s important to only use indoor lights inside and not in any areas where they are exposed to the weather. If you use outdoor lights make sure they are made for this purpose and don’t forget to turn them off during heavy rain and high winds. This type of weather can damage the lights and the insulation around the wires and could potentially cause electrical faults and fire.”
Mr Tinslay encourages people to take a few minutes to think about electrical safety to help keep everyone safe over the festive period.
“Take the time to explain electrical safety to children. Indoor Christmas lights usually have bulbs that operate at extra low voltages but it is important children are taught not to play with electricity.
“If you are using last year’s Christmas lights check there are no exposed wires or damaged controllers, lamp holders or bulbs. Never modify or attempt to repair any lighting equipment. If you have any safety concerns get them checked by a licensed electrician.
“Finally – if you don’t already have them - get safety switches installed on every electrical circuit in your home. Safety switches are an additional safety measure that can prevent electrocution. Contact your local licensed electrician for assistance. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
Members of the public can visit www.neca.asn.au and click on the Find an Electrician button to find a licensed electrician in their area.