Christmas lights could be a fire trap

WITH electrical equipment a leading cause of house fires across the state Orange firefighters have warned Christmas light set-ups could be very dangerous this festive season.

With Christmas in full swing Fire and Rescue NSW station officer Paul Collis warned residents to be careful when decorating their homes.

He cited the example of double-adaptors “piggy backed” on powerboards and all connected to a single power point as something people should avoid.

“The use of decorative lights and candles, piggy-backing double adaptors and using electrical cords and plugs that have been packed away for 12 months all have the potential to cause a fire in the home,” Mr Collis said.

Of the 902 residential fires across the state from December 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013, at least 128 involved electrical equipment, and at least 12 were caused by candles.

During these fires 98 people were injured and four people died.

“Checking lights and other decorations is a simple but effective way to prevent a household fire this festive season,” he said.

Mr Collis said overloading powerboards is a real fire safety risk.

“We don’t want anyone to have their Christmas spoilt by a trip to the hospital because of accidents in the home that are easily preventable,” he said.


* Check lights and electrical decorations for faults, worn plugs and frayed cords

* When setting up fairy lights and other electrical decorative ornaments make sure you use only one item per power socket. For maximum safety, ensure your powerboard has an overload protection.

* Inspect the plugs and leads of used decorative lights to ensure they are in good working order. If in doubt, replace the lights.

* Never use Christmas lights designed for indoor use in outdoor settings.

* Lights can become hot and candles can cause a fire so don’t place them near paper trimmings, decorations or curtains and don’t leave burning candles unattended.

* Immediately call Triple-0 and ask for the fire service if a fire breaks out

* Make sure that everybody moves outside to safety.

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