As the finishing touches are put on Christmas trees, and the mad dash for last minute gifts begins, Unison is encouraging customers to keep safety front of mind during the ‘silly season’.
Unison Chief Executive Officer, Ken Sutherland, urged customers to think about buying and using electrical items safely.
“While sparkling lights and decorations contribute to the festive feel, if not used safely, they can also significantly increase the risk of fires and electrical injuries.
“Electrical gifts can also pose a risk if they are not up to New Zealand safety standards, or designed for use on our network.”
Unison offers the following tips for the safe purchase and enjoyment of electrical goods:
- Check electrical gifts and lights are from reputable retailers, and are tested safe for use in New Zealand (AS/NZ 3820 electrical standard).
- Check extension leads and power cables for damage and exposed wires before you use them.
- If you are using lights on a real Christmas tree, keep your tree in a bucket and keep it well watered. Dry pine needles are more at risk of burning than fresh, green ones!
- If you are using lights outdoors, make sure they are designed for outside use. If you are using an extension cord outside, make sure you use a residual current device (RCD).
- Turn decorative lights off at night.
- Don’t overload power sockets. It’s safe to use a multi-board - just limit the amount of plugs you use to the number of available sockets (e.g. if it’s a five-socket multiboard, plug in up to five items on the board, and only plug a single multiboard into the wall socket).
- Lastly, having working smoke alarms in your home could save your life and those of your family in the event something does go wrong. Check the batteries in smoke detectors are working, and make sure your family knows what to do in the event of a fire.