FAIRY lights and candles can be a major hazard and source of fuel in a fire if not handled correctly.
This is the warning from Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan who urged people to be aware of fire dangers when decorating their homes and businesses for Christmas.
Mr Ryan said many people underestimated the danger faulty electrical decorations and candles could create.
“It’s that time of year again where many of us are starting to pull out our Christmas trees, lights and decorations to fill our homes and workplaces with a bit of festive cheer,” he said.
Mr Ryan said lights should be checked for wear and tear.
Any that were damaged or frayed should be thrown away.
“Fairy and Christmas tree lights are often only used a few weeks each year and they could easily be damaged in storage,” he said.
RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said their research showed 48 per cent of home fires experienced by people they surveyed were caused by electrical faults.
“It’s vitally important people are mindful of the heightened danger their decorations could pose,” she said.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Katarina Carroll said it was important to only use lights designed for external use when decorating outdoors.
“Internal lights exposed to the elements, such as morning dew and rain, quickly become fire hazards,” she said.
“Avoid overloading power boards with an excessive number of lights as this too could spark a fire.”
Ms Smith also said power boards should not be overloaded by piggy-backing double adaptors when plugging in electrical decorations.
“It’s also essential all lights purchased have an Australian standards label and that they’re used for their correct purpose,” she said.
Speaking about safety around candles, Ms Carroll said they should be kept away from combustible items, including decorations and curtains.
“Never leave children or pets unattended with candles, and always ensure lighters and matches are kept up high, out of the reach of children.”
Ms Carroll said parents should explain fire safety to children so they understood the dangers of playing with candles and electrical items such as fairy lights.
“The last Christmas present any Queensland family needs is a house fire or electric shock due to faulty decorations or an unattended open flame.”