Every year, homes light up all across the Mornington Peninsula to celebrate the holiday season. Each year seems to be bigger and more spectacular than the last. It’s a big job to install all the decorations and requires a lot of thought and planning, not only in the visual design, but also the safety aspect, ensuring your home can cope with the extra energy load. Below are some of our Christmas light safety tips for the big Christmas light up.

Check the condition of electrical decorations before use
Check over each decoration carefully to check that they are safe to use. Look out for damaged wiring or sockets, loose connections and bare wires. If you have to replace a bulb from a section of fairy lights, make sure the wattage in the replacement bulb is the same as those on the rest of the set. If in doubt, set aside to be checked or throw it out.
Only purchase Australian approved lights and decorations. We recommend purchasing from reputable retailers, as they will only stock Australian approved lighting. If shopping in ‘bargain’ stores, you must be vigilant in what you are purchasing.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade recommend the following;
• Always ensure Christmas lighting products have been approved for use in Australia;
• Check for a compliance number on the product. If in doubt seek the advice of the store manager or do not purchase the product until satisfied that it is safe and complies with Australia’s strict electricity safety requirements.
• Always follow the manufactures instructions regarding assembly, installation and globe replacement.

Do not purchase items which meet the following;
• Light sets designed for (overseas) voltages less than 230 Volts (normal supply voltage in Australia is currently 240 Volts);
• Plugs incompatible with Australian power points;
• Dangerously thin electrical insulation on the flexible leads;
• Inadequately attached cords that may pull out of lamp holders.

Map out your decoration plan
First of all, map out the location of your power points. Decide how many decorations you want to place up in certain locations. It is important to not overload electrical outlets. Do you need to get another power point installed to handle the energy load? If there are joined power plugs outdoors, exposed to the elements, make sure to purchase specialised coverings designed to protect your cables.

Safety first
• Make sure your decorations are a least 1 metre from a heat source and that you never cover them up.
• Make sure there are no loose cords as tripping hazards.
• When watering Christmas trees or gardens, make sure that you turn off and unplug all electrical decorations.
• If placing items on the roof, or up high, make sure you have the proper safety equipment and someone to assist you.

Unplug and turn off when not is use
Before you go to bed, or if you are planning to be out, it is important to turn off and unplug your Christmas lights. If you go to bed earlier than you want to turn off the decorations, consider putting in a timer, or automation system, so that you’re not upsetting the neighbours with lights flashing all night.

Be prepared for an emergency
Each year accidents do happen and many fires start as a result of faulty decorations or misusage. Be vigilant, and make sure you have the fire brigade’s number on hand, as well as ours (you local electrician) in case something needs to be repaired or modified.

The holiday season should be a safe and happy time, spent celebrating with friends and family. Following our tips, will ensure you have a fabulous festive season.

Merry Christmas everyone from the O’Halloran Electrical team.