Christmas Lights Safety and Consideration

December 10, 2019

Its coming up to Christmas again so the decorations have been dusted off and hung up ready for Santa’s arrival in the coming weeks! Christmas light decorating is a tradition that many enjoy at this time of year however; residents need to be aware that they can also pose fire risks and electrical hazards if safety precautions are not made in advance.

There can also be by-laws to regulate decorations, particularly when placed on common property and balconies that may flash all night long into neighbours bedrooms. Read on to hear about our tips to not only stay safe, but also keep everyone cheerful that may not share the same enthusiasm you might have for lighting up the building.

Whilst the main source of electrical hazards are caused by faulty wiring, placing lighting too close to flammable items can increase the likelihood of igniting that can lead to the entire homes being engulfed.

As Christmas lights are mostly on at night time, this is a recipe for real danger to those sleeping with the potential for loss of life from both flames and resulting smoke inhalation.

We encourage everyone to keep safety in mind when hanging lights and decorating their properties by provide some helpful tips on how to decorate safely:

  • Ensure temporary lights are not touching any flammable items such as curtains, carpet, paper or other combustible materials
  • Check you are not overloading power boards or creating excessive heat in confined areas
  • Remember to either turn off any powered decorations before you go to bed or have a timer set to do this automatically
  • Inspect and test smoke alarms to make sure they are in good working condition to provide the critical early warning needed to save lives and minimise property damage
  • Make sure decorations do not block walkways, emergency exit points and are not on common property unless approved
  • When decorating the exterior of your property, make sure to use lights and decorations that are rated for outdoor use
  • Check lights and cables to ensure they are secure to avoid becoming a hazard in strong winds or summer storms
  • Review your by-laws to determine approval requirements before decorating and plan in advance by allowing sufficient time for approval to be granted by your Body Corporate when required
  • Check that your lights are not flashing into your neighbours living room or bedrooms disturbing their peaceful enjoyment or sleep

This article was contributed by Sean Albert, General Manager – Strata Compliance Solutions

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