Don’t let your festive lights ignite

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As Victorians adorn their homes with festive fairy lights in the lead up to the Christmas and holiday season, firefighters are reminding people to check the wiring and placement of their lights.


CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan urged Victorians to take simple precautionary steps to be sure it’s only Santa's sleigh that visits this Christmas, and not a fire truck.

“Before setting your lights up, make sure the wiring is intact, check there are no missing bulbs or frayed cords and the lights are in good, working order,” he said.

“When plugging in your lights, remember not to overload power boards, and make sure electrical cords are not covered by a rug or mat.

“Tinsel and other festive decorations will be abundant but placing lights too close to these items can present a fire risk.

“Remember to turn your Christmas lights off when leaving the house or before going to bed to ensure they don’t overheat.”

In September, CFA responded to an electrical fire caused by fairy lights at a Ferntree Gully house which caused significant damage to the brick veneer property.

Incident Controller and Ferntree Gully firefighter Todd Small said the incident demonstrated the risk associated with damaged festive lights.

“Please don’t leave fairy lights on all the time. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” he said.

Electrical fires are among the top causes of house fires each year.

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, that the lights are in good working order and that 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.
  • 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.


  • Member News imagePhoto: Damaged bedroom inside the Ferntree Gully home that was engulfed by a fire started by fairy lights earlier this year.
Submitted by CFA Media