Have a safe holiday season

Trent Ernst


Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) is a time for decorations. For doing something a little different than normal. To light up the darkness.

Unfortunately, additional lights bring with them additional risk to your home and family.

While we no longer engage in the practice of putting burning candles in the branches of dead trees, that doesn’t mean we’re completely out of the woods as far as danger goes.

The BC Safety Authority (BCSA) recently released a bunch of tips for people to protect themselves and their property by following a few basic lighting safety tips.

Faulty wiring of seasonal lights can create electrical hazards and result in injury or property damage, says the BCSA. To reduce risk, BCSA always follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation and use of indoor and outdoor lights and to use only Canadian-approved products.

Check lights or other electrical decorations for defects before use and discarding any with cracked sockets, frayed or loose wires. Another important precaution is to turn off all electrical lighting and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.

In addition, BCSA provides the following tips for lighting your home safely this holiday season:

  • Ensure that your lights have Canadian safety approval certification.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installing and using any electrical decorations.
  • Consider switching to energy efficient LED lights – they produce less heat which reduces the risk of fire.
  • Use the right cord for the location—indoor and outdoor cords are different.
  • Outdoor sockets within 2.5 meters of grade require a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacle.
  • Never run cords under rugs where people will walk over them or through doorways or windows where they may become pinched—breakage of pinched wires can cause a fire.
  • Never use staples or nails to attach cords to walls or roofs.
  • Make sure cords can handle the amperage indicated on your electrical devices, and avoid multi-outlet adapter connections which can overload your outlet.
  • Outdoor lights left up year round will likely need to be replaced.
  • Keep lights out of the reach of small children.

For additional information about electrical safety, visit the BCSA website www.safetyauthority.ca.