Stay safe this Christmas!

A few reminders from Alotau Fire & Rescue Service:

How to Stay Safe at Christmas

It’s the holidays, folks!

That most wonderful time of the year when 32 million families across the nation resurrect ornaments, twinkle lights and motorised Santas from garages and basements, and get ready to tackle that favourite December pastime: Decorating.

While holiday decorating is all about adding fun, sparkle and warmth to a very special season, it’s important to remember that many of our favourite decorations carry the risk of fire or electrical injury, if not used carefully.

Don’t let a preventable accident take the enjoyment out of your holidays – whether you’re excitedly preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, take a few minutes to read our decorating safety tips. From everyone at, have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

Lights and Decorations

When shopping for lights, electric decorations and extension cords, purchase only the ones that are UL-listed.
If you’re planning to decorate outdoors, make sure that you use lights and decorations that are rated for outdoor use. Putting indoor-only products outside in the weather can result in electric shock and fire hazards.
If you’re in doubt as to whether light strings are rated for indoor or outdoor use, just check the colour-coded UL mark on the product’s package. A green holographic UL mark says, “indoors only, please”, while a red one indicates that the product is safe for both indoor and outdoor use.
Whether they’re brand-new out of the box or seasoned veterans from holidays past, before you put them up, inspect all lights, electric decorations and extension cords for signs of damage to wire insulation, plugs and bulbs.

If the damage can be repaired (i.e. broken bulbs replaced), do not use the item until the repair has been made. If cords and plugs are damaged, discard and replace the decoration.
Always unplug lights before changing bulbs, replacing fuses, or making any other repairs.
If you need to replace a bulb in a string of Christmas lights, make sure that the wattage rating of the replacement bulb you’re using matches that of the light strand. Using a bulb with too high a wattage can cause the light string to overheat, creating a fire risk.

Christmas is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present at this time of year.

The following advice should be used in conjunction with other sections of the site, such as the candle fire safety page, due to the fact that candles are also used more and more at this time of year.

Fairy Lights
Check the fuses are the right type (see the box for the maximum size of fuse you should use).
If bulbs blow, replace them.
Don’t leave fairy lights on when you go out or when you go to sleep.
Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper.
Don’t overload sockets.
Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily.
Don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
Don’t put them immediately above or around the fireplace.
Keep them away from candles.