Over three quarters of complacent brits are leaving their homes at risk of electrical fault and potential fire at christmas

New research, commissioned by NICEIC and ELECSA has revealed some disturbing facts about the safety of UK homes at Christmas. As 90% of Brits admit to decorating their home and garden in the next few weeks, less than a quarter (23%) would consider the impact this might have on the electrics in their home. 
“Electrical safety in the home is important at any time of the year, but at Christmas we tend to forget that all the decorative lights we use around the home massively increase the dangers to our family,” comments Tony Cable, Senior Electrical Engineer for NICEIC and ELECSA.
“Just grabbing old lights from the loft and plugging them in isn’t acceptable. Everyone needs to be aware of the dangers and take into account the risks when getting competitive with the neighbours.”
The research also found that many householders continue to use old sets of lights that are not properly checked (57%) or do not fully understand the British Safety Kitemark. Vicente McNeill, an electrician from London explains: “The most common problem that occurs at Christmas, is over-loading due to people plugging in too many lights. In my opinion, homeowners are not aware of the strain they are putting on their home systems.”
Brits are advised to think safety first when decorating their home this Christmas. NICEIC and ELECSA have identified the top five tips to ensure householders’ homes stay electrically safe this Christmas.
1. Do not overload sockets – Try to avoid extensive use of extension sockets and adapters. Do not plug multiple extensions into each other.
2. Do not re-wire your lights – Many homeowners will be tempted, or have already rewired lights to include 2, 3 or sometimes 4 sets of lights into a single plug. This is dangerous and causes a potential fire risk.
3. Make sure lights you use outside are certified safe for external use -Only use outdoor lights that have been specifically designed to be used outdoors. If you are unsure check the manufacturers’ instructions.
4. Do not leave lights on for long periods – Many homeowners will be tempted to keep lights on for 24 hours, overnight or even more concerning, leave them on when they go out. All Christmas lights increase the risk of fire and overloading and should only be switched on whilst you are at home.
5. Always use Christmas lights that have been certified for use – This can be identified by the European Standards Symbol (represented by a CE) and the British Standards Kitemark. If in doubt, don’t use them. Always buy lights from reputable stores.
If anyone is concerned about the safety of their home electrics, or would like to obtain professional advice about their Christmas lights, they can visit niceic.com/safechristmas or elecsa.co.uk/safechristmas