Take care of Christmas lights for upcoming season

AS CHRISTMAS decorations are arranged for another holiday season, Australians are being warned not to let their fairy lights go up in flames.

Kingaroy Fire Station officer Bruce Groer said it was important to check lights used in a display.

"When they're stored, the chords are wrapped up and can fray or break and cause an electrical short," Mr Groer said.

"Roll them out, have a good look at the wiring and make sure there are no breaks in the insulation."

Candles and Christmas trees were another fire hazard.

"Candles are an obvious danger in that they've got a naked flame and can easily ignite combustibles," Mr Groer said.

"Natural trees do dry out and add to the fire load, and artificial trees are plastic and hydrocarbons, so the risk is there on both occasions."

Kingaroy woman Veronica Hartwig and her husband Geoff have been decorating their house for the past 12 years, growing from a few decorations to a full front and side garden's worth.

The decorations include hundreds of LED and solar lights, tea-light candles and Christmas ornaments, which have taken over three weeks to install.

For a situation that could easily become a fire hazard, the Hartwigs' careful planning, maintenance and common sense has led to no issues.

"We keep an eye on them - they're checked nightly in December and we're all out there making sure everything is okay," Mrs Hartwig said.

She said the family used LED lights for their efficiency as well as safety.

"When you've got as many lights as we have, you've got to try and have the safest, most efficient ones there," she said.

"You just check your cords and wiring and make sure you're not overloading power points.

"As the lights deteriorate, they're replaced."

Although Mr Groer had seen few fires caused by Christmas decorations in his career, he urged those decorating their house to stay vigilant.

Topics:  christmas electricity fire qfes south burnett

South Burnett

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