As the Christmas spirit grows so too does the likelihood of festive fairy lights starting fires.
And so as we unpack dusty decorations, gear up for family reunions and a visit from a jolly old man in red, CFA acting chief officer Garry Cook is urging people to be pro-active when it comes to preventing electrical fires in our homes.
Electrical fires are one of the most common causes of house fires each year. And as we begin pulling out power boards and plugging in fairy lights that have spent a year-long hiatus in a cardboard box, it's not hard to double check decorations before switching them on.
Mr Cook said it's a few simple steps that can make all the difference.
"Before putting up your Christmas lights, check the lights are in good working order and have no missing bulbs or frayed cords," he said.
"Don't overload power boards, and make sure electrical cords are not covered by a rug or mat."
But it's not just electrical fires you need to look out for - it's candles too.
Knocking over an open flame is a sure-fire way to kill the Christmas spirit so make sure your candles are out of knocking range of people and pets alike.
"It's also extremely important to always keep matches, candles and lighters away from infants and small
children," Mr Cook said, and too avoid placing an open flame too close to flammable items like curtains.
And if all else fails and your house does catch on fire, make sure your smoke alarm works.
Fire Rescue commissioner Ken Block said it was vital to make sure some alarms work.
"The top of our wish list is seeing Victorians celebrate Christmas safely," he said.
"Take some simple steps to ensure one of the most joyful times of the year isn't ruined by fires, injuries or worse - especially when it can be avoided.
"If you're stuck for a gift idea, why not consider a smoke alarm, fire extinguisher or fire blanket? These are practical and useful gifts that can be purchased from your local hardware store."
Mr Block also called for people to embrace the Christmas spirit and help out any elderly relatives or neighbours with checking their smoke alarms.
"Smoke alarms are life-saving devices, and Victorian firefighters recommend they are installed in every living room, bedroom and hallway," he said.
Top 10 Christmas lights safety tips:
- When buying Christmas lights, make sure they have the Regulatory Compliance Mark tick of approval.
- Consider using battery-operated LED or solar lights which don't require electricity.
- Inspect your Christmas lights for any sign of damage or wear and tear. Make sure there's no exposed wiring, the lights are in good working order and there are no missing globes.
- When decorating the outside of your home, only choose lights and fittings designed for external use.
- Make sure you have a safety switch in your meter box or have a qualified electrician install one.
- Don't overload power boards; use no more than three sets of lights per power board, even if there are four or more outlets on it, and avoid using double adaptors.
- Make sure electric cords are completely uncoiled and are not placed under rugs or mats.
- Place your tree as far as possible from any heat source, curtains or furnishings.
- Maintain water in the base of natural Christmas trees to stop them drying out and remove lights once they show signs of drying.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms in all bedrooms, living areas and hallways. Ideally, smoke alarms are interconnected, which means if a fire in one room sets off one smoke alarm, all alarms will activate.
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