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    © Leslie Gallagher and LG Inventories (Inventories, Inspections & Testing), 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leslie Gallagher and LG Inventories (Inventories, Inspections & Testing) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Electrical Safety at Christmas

We would like to offer you some advice to help you make your indoor and outdoor Christmas light displays as safe as possible.

Buying

  • • Look for safety marks – for example BS Kitemark.
  • • Buy from a reputable store.
  • • Look for lights that operate at a low voltage via a transformer. Low voltage sets pose less risk of electric shock. However, even low voltage equipment is capable of starting a fire.
  • • Avoid buying second-hand. If you do make sure they are PAT tested first. Even low voltage lights need to have a transformer that is plugged into the mains supply and as such it constitutes an item of Portable Electrical Equipment, which is subject to PAT testing. If your lights don’t display an indication of having been tested, then it is vital that you get them checked out.

Checking

  • • Unplug the lights before removing bulbs. Never insert or remove bulbs when switched on.
  • • Before using, inspect cables and bulbs for damage.
  • • Do not use damaged lights.

Using

  • • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • • Use an RCD – Residual Current Device, for added protection against shock.
  • • Don’t run the cable where it can be damaged.
  • • Some lights can generate a considerable amount of heat. Keep lights clear of decorations and other flammable materials.
  • • Ensure they don’t present a trip hazard for anyone.
  • • Only use extension cables that have been tested.
  • • Switch them off when you go to bed and when you go out of the house.
  • • Do not allow children to play with the lights.
  • • Do not use makeshift wiring for lights.
  • • Check for overloaded plugs – you should fit one plug per socket unless you use a bar adapter on a lead.  But don’t plug appliances into the adapter that collectively use more than 13 amps of current and avoid daisy chaining extension cables.
  • • Do not use lights outdoors unless specifically made for such use.
  • • Don’t extend cables on outdoor lights.
  • • Never use extension leads or plugs and sockets outdoors unless specifically designed for outdoor use.
  • • On outdoor lights always check that the transformer is suitable for an outdoor location.

Storing

  • • Take care when dismantling and packing the lights not to damage them.
  • • Keep them safely stored away out of reach of children.
  • • Avoid damp or excessively hot conditions.
Get your free guide to electrical safety at Christmas here courtesy of the Electrical Safety Council.
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