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Twinkle safely this Christmas

Ten top tips to ensure your Christmas lights twinkle safely this festive season have been issued by the country’s biggest electricity distributor UK Power Networks.

From Press releases - 28 November 2016 12:00 AM

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Ten top tips to ensure your Christmas lights twinkle safely this festive season have been issued by the country’s biggest electricity distributor UK Power Networks.

The company which delivers local power supplies to a quarter of the population - across London, the South East and the East of England - is asking people to follow some simple advice when putting up their festive illuminations.

Before the Advent period starts on November 27, Peter Vujanic, Head of Health and Safety at UK Power Networks, said: “We want to wish everyone a happy Christmas, and part of that is remembering a few simple precautions to help you enjoy the season safely.

“You perhaps don’t think of Christmas decorations as hazardous, but there are a host of things to remember, from making sure the wires for tree lights don’t trail across doorways to having someone there to hold the ladder when you put up outside lights.

“We would also urge people to keep an eye out for any power lines which serve your home, as you might not notice how close they are when you’re working at height. Electricity can jump gaps and can kill even at the domestic voltage, so before starting work, look up and keep well away from any overhead wires. Power lines regularly get mistaken for phone lines so keep away from them if you’re not sure.”

Sometimes overhead electricity lines are clipped below the guttering along the façade of several houses, so extra care should be taken not to come into contact with these.

Using a Residual Current Device (RCD) at the socket outlet where your lights are connected provides safety protection in the event of a fault or damage to your lights.

Here are some tips to stay safe this Christmas:
1. Keep ladders well clear of overhead power lines
2. Check old lights carefully and look out for frayed or broken wires. Consider replacing any old lights with latest specification low voltage lights – reducing your energy use too
3. Check that lighting used outdoors is designed for outdoor use
4. Use a residual current device for electrical protection
5. Ensure any fuse is of the correct rating for the lights
6. Replace dead bulbs promptly while the power is switched off
7. Position your tree near to a power socket to avoid trailing wires, and never join flexes together or run them under the carpet
8. Switch fairy lights off when going out or going to bed
9. Keep lights clear of decorations and other flammable materials
10. Avoid overloading plug sockets