Your Fairy Lights Are More Dangerous Than You Think
Christmas is just around the corner and with it brings the joys and delights of mince pies, mulled wine and fancy decorations. It’s estimated that a massive 10 million sets of fairy lights are purchased in the UK every year in an effort to get into the festive spirit! Arguably, fairy lights are a lot safer than the old fashioned candles, but these seemingly harmless twinkling lights are partly responsible for 80,000 injuries that occur in our homes, every year, during the Christmas period*.
Whatever you’re wishing for this Christmas we’re sure it’s not a Christmas tree fire. So if you’re beginning to get your home ready for Christmas, or are currently sitting proudly before your already hung décor, stop for a moment and follow the tips below. We want to make sure your Christmas goes as smoothly and as injury free as possible.
Buy From Reputable Stores
Don’t fall prey to temptingly cheap offers on fairy lights this year, make sure you buy from a reputable, well known shop where lights are more likely to have passed EU regulations and be awarded the British safety standard mark.
Purchase new lights if possible, but if you do buy second-hand lights make sure that they are checked over by an electrical specialist first; faulty lights can lead to Christmas tree fires injuring you and damaging your home.
Check Old Lights Before Using Them
Wiring and lights deteriorate over the years, so it is important to check for any damage and test them out before you hang them on your very flammable tree. If you usually use old lights, consider buying new ones where possible, as they meet higher safety standards.
Take Care When Putting Up Your Lights
Think about where you’re hanging your lights; don’t leave cables stretching across open floor where they could cause a tripping accident, as well as keeping lights clear of flammable materials. Other causes of injury stem from dangerous conditions; it’s important to keep lights cool and dry. You should also never place lights on a metallic tree as you risk electrocution.
Always Turn Lights Off When Leaving the Room
Although sometimes it’s hard to turn off the Christmas spirit, always remember to turn off your lights when you leave the room, before you leave the house and at night while you’re sleeping. Leaving lights on and unattended could start an unwelcome fire.
If You Suspect There’s a Problem, STOP
If you think there is a problem with your fairy lights, however small it may be, don’t take the chance. Stop using them immediately and return them to the shop you bought them from.
Remember to check cables and bulbs regularly for any damage to avoid nasty surprises over Christmas. If you find any damaged leads or cables, dispose of them safely and sensibly. And, as always, make sure you take the time to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
*Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.