Avoid fires, check your Christmas lights

Police and Community Safety Jack Dempsey Minister has asked Queenslanders to be aware of fire and safety risks as families start to assemble their Christmas lights.
Mr Dempsey said many families didn’t realise the danger Christmas lights and other electrical decorations could create and it was important they were checked thoroughly.
“Every festive season firefighters respond to incidents where properties have been damaged and lives have been put at risk as a result of fires caused by damaged Christmas lights,” Mr Dempsey said.
“Fairy lights and Christmas tree lights could have easily been damaged in storage and this can put your family at risk of electrocution. It only takes a few minutes, but testing your lights before putting them on your tree or house will decrease the chance of unnecessary heartache.”
Mr Dempsey also reminded Queenslanders that lights, cords and plugs that are damaged or frayed in any way should be thrown out immediately.
“As they are only used a few weeks each year, the lights and electrical cords often get tangled and damaged when stored,” he said.
“Don’t take the risk. A Christmas tree can go up in flames seconds, quickly followed by your home.”
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) Acting Commissioner Iain MacKenzie also warned of the danger damaged Christmas lights and overloaded power boards can pose.
“Leaving lights unattended for hours can also be a serious threat to life and property so we ask all householders to turn their Christmas lights off when they go to bed, or go out for a significant period of time,” Mr MacKenzie said.
“When decorating outside your home it is important to only use lights designed for external use as exposing internal lights to sun and rain can be dangerous and quickly become a fire hazard.
“Overloading power boards is also another fire hazard. We recommend that you invest in a power board with an overload switch rather than loading up double adaptors.
“We want everyone to enjoy the festive season and taking a few precautions can ensure your friends and family’s safety.”