Celebrate safely this Christmas

Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) are encouraging Victorians to celebrate the holiday period safely by checking festive lights before switching them on.

Thursday, 17 December 2020 at 9:00 pm

Fairy lights on Christmas trees and around the house can help create a festive atmosphere, however they can also spark devastating fires at home if proper precautions aren’t followed.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said in addition to being aware of the dangers of grass and bushfires, Victorians should also know that electrical fires are among the top causes of house fires each year.

“These can easily be avoided by following some simple steps,” he said.

“Before putting up your Christmas lights, check that the lights are in good working order and have no missing bulbs or frayed cords.

“Don’t overload power boards or piggyback adapters, and make sure that electric cords are not covered by a rug or mat.

“Never place lights too close to tinsel or flammable decorations, and make sure you turn your Christmas lights off when leaving the house or before going to bed to ensure they don’t overheat. 

Fire Rescue Commissioner Ken Block said it was important to ensure you had working photoelectric smoke alarms that would alert you in the event of a fire.

“This year has already been incredibly challenging for all Victorians, so following these simple steps will ensure we can all focus on celebrating safely with friends and family,” Commissioner Block said.

“If you’re stuck for an easy gift idea, a smoke alarm is relatively cheap and can be purchased from your local hardware store.

“We recommend interconnected smoke alarms are placed in every living room and bedroom, so you can never have too many.

“If you are seeing elderly relatives or neighbours over the holidays, why not offer to check that their smoke alarm is working while you’re visiting?”

“Only a working smoke alarm will save your life and give you early warning if there is a fire,” Commissioner Block said.

CFA and FRV have made a list and are asking community members to check it twice to stay safe this Christmas.

Christmas safety list tips:

  • When shopping for Christmas lights make sure you check that they meet Australian Safety Standards.
  • Consider using battery-operated LED lights which don’t require electricity.
  • Inspect your Christmas lights for any sign of damage or wear and tear.
  • Don’t use light sets with missing globes.
  • When decorating the outside of your home, choose lights and fittings designed for external use.
  • Make sure you have a safety switch in your meter box or have a qualified electrician install one.
  • Use no more than three sets of lights per power board, even if there are four or more outlets on it.
  • Make sure electric cords are completely uncoiled and are not placed under rugs or mats.
  • Place your tree as far as possible from any heat source, curtains or furnishings.
  • Maintain water in the base of natural Christmas trees to stop them drying out and remove lights once they show signs of drying.