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How to Safely Decorate at Christmas Time

Christmas is almost upon us again with many starting annual decoration of their home in celebration. Holiday decorating is a tradition that many enjoy at this special 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 rules in place to regulate these types of decorations, particularly when placed on common property balconies and the like.

Whilst the main source of electrical hazards are caused by faulty wiring, placing lighting too close to flammable items can cause the further danger of causing a fire which has lead to entire homes being engulfed tragically leading to loss of life. We encourage everyone to keep safety in mind when hanging lights and decorating their properties and provide some helpful tips on how to decorate safely:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Ensure temporary lights are not touching and 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

This article was contributed by Ben Parry. Ben joined the Archers team in 2016 as the Compliance Manager and has extensive experience in Workplace Health & Safety, Fire Safety Compliance and Construction.

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