Shining a light on electrical safety

The ability to make holiday decorations safe has become a hot topic for some this winter.

The ability to make holiday decorations safe has become a hot topic for some this winter.

The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) is urging everyone to protect themselves and their properties from faulty wiring of Christmas lights this season.

“Aged or worn out Christmas lighting and displays are subjected to cold and wet winter conditions as well as UV from the sun, and this can have a deteriorating effect on the lighting,” said Michael Pilato, BCSA senior safety officer, in a recent press release. “Lighting should be looked at each year to make sure it is in good working order.”

The BCSA encourages holiday aficionados to follow manufacturers’ directions for installation and use of indoor and outdoor lights approved in Canada.

However, the BCSA recommends checking lights or other alternative electrical decorations for defects before using or discarding cracked receptacles, frayed or loose wires. It also suggests that consumers protect themselves by turning off all electrical lighting and decorations before leaving the house.

The Invermere Fire Rescue crew has not yet had any problems related to festive ornaments, but it cautions people to stay safe and practice caution with all electrically charged devices.

“We cannot recall any incident that applies the seasonal lighting or to that particular brand of light. However, we’ve responded in the past to call where additional electrical devices like heaters have been plugged into outlets or extension cords and resulted in the overloading of that circuit,” said Geoff Hill, a firefighter with the District of Invermere’s fire department. “This can be particularly dangerous and we ask that people take care to not overload circuits in their homes with seasonal items.”

Meanwhile, Health Canada has reported hazards in several lighting products that are widely distributed throughout Canada at retail chains including the recalled brands Taizhou Hongpeng Colour Lanterns (CSA File Number 241989) and Ningbo EGO International Co. Ltd. (CSA File Number 263917). Both products are easily identified with a manufacturer’s product identification label attached to one end of a string of lights.

Health Canada recommends that consumers stop using both of these products immediately and return the products to the places where they were purchased, or follow directions that are associated with anticipated recall notices for some products.

For more information about the recalls, visit http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2015/56254r-eng.php.

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