Keep safe with holiday decorating

Protect yourself and your property by following a few basic lighting safety tips

With the holiday season just around the corner, BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is reminding British Columbians to protect themselves and their property by following a few basic lighting safety tips.

Faulty wiring of seasonal lights can create electrical hazards and result in injury or property damage. To reduce risk, BCSA advises consumers to follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation and use of indoor and outdoor lights and to use only products approved for use in Canada.

“Aged or worn out Christmas lighting and displays are subjected to cold and wet winter conditions as well as UV from the sun. This can have a deteriorating effect on the lighting. Lighting should be looked at each year to make sure it is in good working order,” said Michael Pilato, BCSA Senior Safety Officer.

BCSA recommends checking lights or other electrical decorations for defects before use and discarding any with cracked receptacles, frayed or loose wires. Another important precaution is to turn off all electrical lighting and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.

In addition, BCSA provides the following tips for lighting your home safely this holiday season:

• Ensure that your lights have Canadian safety approval certification. Check all of your electrical holiday decorations for labels with approved agency marks. A full list of approved safety markings can be found at: http://www.safetyauthority.ca/alert/electrical-information-bulletin-approved-certification-marks-electrical-products

•  Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing and using any electrical decorations.

• Consider switching to energy efficient LED lights – they produce less heat, which reduces the risk of fire.

• Use the right cord for the location – indoor and outdoor cords are different.

• Outdoor receptacles within 2.5 meters of grade require a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle.

• Never run cords under rugs where people will walk over them or through doorways or windows where they may become pinched – breakage of pinched wires can cause a fire.

• Never use staples or nails to attach cords to walls or roofs.

• Make sure cords can handle the amperage indicated on your electrical devices, and avoid multi-outlet adaptor connections which can overload your outlet.

• Outdoor lights left up year-round will likely need to be replaced.

• Keep lights out of the reach of small children.