Like any electrical product, Christmas lights should be purchased and used with caution. If you use unsafe lights, or use lights incorrectly it can result in electric shock or house fires.
Before decorating your business, home or garden you need to make sure you use lights that are appropriate for their purpose and location. Only choose lights that are labelled ‘for indoor use only’ if you’re planning to do just that. For displays outside your work entrance, on your deck or anywhere that may be affected by the weather, you must select lights marked ‘suitable for outdoor use’. Be careful not to run leads over driveways, walkways and avoid passing through windows and doors.
Before you get into a lighting showdown with your neighbours, first consider the following:
- test your safety switch before installing Christmas lights
- use lights appropriate for their purpose and location
- buy Christmas lights that have an Australian certificate of approval – look for an approval number or regulatory compliance mark logo (usually found on the plastic tag near the supply plug or on the transformer body)
- buy lights marked ‘safety extra low voltage’ if you think children may accidentally come into contact with light bulbs or you are decorating metal objects or metal fencing
- beware of buying Christmas lights from overseas as they may be unsafe for use in Australia
- be cautious of buying Christmas lights second hand – safety requirements have changed over the years so they may not meet the latest safety requirements
- check your old Christmas lights by unravelling them and looking at the plug, leads and lampholders – there should be no exposed wires or damaged areas
- never alter or modify any lighting equipment
- check you have a working smoke alarm
- unwind all connected electrical leads to avoid overheating
- switch off and unplug lights when watering a living Christmas tree
- turn off all lights before going to bed – Santa and his reindeer wont mind.
For more information regarding safe decorative lighting, electrical product recalls or electrical safety visit the Electrical Safety Office website or call 1300 650 662.