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Beware of the lights

Avinesh Gopal
Monday, December 24, 2012

Fires are often known to have started from unattended cooking or prayer lamps (diya), electrical faults or children playing with matches.

Many see it as a risk only during the Hindu Festival of Lights, Deepawali, but they forget that the risk also exists during Christmas. Some homes overseas have been burnt during Christmas and likewise, the risk also exists in Fiji.

TOMORROW is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

It marks the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, a day that will see many Christians flock to churches.

For others, it is a normal holiday and a time to party, to indulge in drinking, feasting and merry-making.

While some families will not celebrate Christmas because of the effects of Tropical Cyclone Evan on their lives, others will go ahead with the celebrations.

With this comes the big risk of losing one's home if safety precautionary measures are not taken.

It is in the form of electrical lights used to decorate Christmas trees, homes, offices and other structures, which, if not checked properly, can cause short circuits, and can trigger a fire.

Apart from losing one's home, lives can also be lost if one is not careful.

House fires have occurred overseas around this time over the years so the National Fire Authority is urging everyone to be mindful of fire safety when decorating their Christmas trees with lights.

NFA chief executive officer John O'Connor said following fire safety tips was important because it would prevent fire incidents from happening in our homes and properties during this festive season.

He stressed the following points:

* Don't leave the lights turned on when away from home or when asleep.

* Don't overload electrical outlets when plugging in the lights and make sure the wires are not frayed or damaged.

* Pay more attention to fire safety as a tiny spark could start a fire within minutes.

* Be more proactive by taking heed of preventative measures to avoid loss of lives and property.


* Do not leave children unsupervised at home.

* If you are cooking food or doing other household activities, you must ensure that an adult is watching your children.

* Do not engage in multiple chores while cooking food - focus on the cooking to avoid unattended cooking starting fires.

* Do not connect multiple electrical appliances into one power socket as this can cause short-circuits.

* If you have purchased a second-hand electrical item, you must have it certified by a certified Fiji Electricity Authority electrical contractor or electrician before using it at home.

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