26 September 2023

FRV warns to treat Christmas lights lightly

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Christmas and fairy lights are once again spreading their festive cheer across Victoria, sparking a reminder from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) to take proper precautions to avoid starting a fire.

Acting Chief Officer of CFA, Garry Cook said electrical fires were among the top causes of house fires each year.

“These can easily be avoided by following some simple steps to make sure it’s only the big man in red that visits this Christmas, not a big red fire truck,” Acting Chief Officer Cook said.

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

“Don’t overload power boards and make sure that electrical cords are not covered by a rug or mat.”

Acting Chief Officer Cook said lights should never be placed next to tinsel or flammable decorations, and people should turn their Christmas lights off when leaving the house or before going to bed to ensure they did not overheat.

In addition to ensuring Christmas lights were safe, Acting Chief Officer Cook urged Victorians to take care with candles by ensuring that they could not be knocked over by people or pets and were not too close to flammable items such as curtains.

Commissioner of FRV, Ken Block said it was vital for homes to have working smoke alarms to alert residents in the event of a fire.

“Take some simple steps to ensure one of the most joyful times of the year isn’t ruined by fires, injuries or worse – especially when it can be avoided,” Commissioner Block said.

“If you’re stuck for a gift idea, why not consider a smoke alarm, fire extinguisher or fire blanket?” he said.

“If you are seeing elderly relatives or neighbours over the holidays, we suggest you check that their smoke alarms are in good working order while you visit,” Commissioner Block said.

CFA’s top 10 Christmas lights safety tips can be accessed at this PS News link.

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