The holiday season here in Australia is full of all sorts of festivities from community parties to family gatherings. Part of these celebrations are light-filled trees, illuminated decorations and other electrically powered enhancements. Sadly, another part of these festivities are malfunctions and even fires due to unsafe electrical practices. To prevent you from dealing with these issues, we provide you with the following early reminder on electrical safety guidelines during the holiday season.

1. Purchase only lights that contain low-wattage bulbs. Also, they need to be UL safety approved, and here in Australia that means that you need to look for the label that states, “UL Certified SAFETY AU E12345”. On top of this, LED lights are the most energy-efficient as well as long-lasting.

2. Always test your lights before using them to be certain that they do not start to melt or smoke when plugged in for at least 15 minutes.

3. Inspect old lights to locate any cracked sockets, broken bulbs, frayed wires, inadequate insulation or loose connections.

4. Never overload extension cords, circuits and outlets since this can cause shorts and even fires.

5. Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions as far as how many light strings are safe to connect together for a tree or a structure. Most of the time these instructions state that no more than three strings should be connected in a continuous light line. A fuse may blow and possibly cause a fire if you ignore the warnings.

6. Use insulated clips rather than staples, tacks or nails to hang lights on a home or other structure. The latter three fastening methods can fray the wires of the lights.

7. Never use indoor lights for outdoor uses since they are not rated to stand up to weather, such as rain.

8. Outdoor lights burn hotter than indoor lights and for this reason, you should not use them on your indoor tree.

9. When you change the light bulbs or adjust the strings of light, unplug them to eliminate the risk of shock.

10. If you choose to use an artificial Christmas tree, make sure that it is flame-resistant.

11. Water a real tree daily to prevent it from drying out. It is at risk of catching on fire from the lights when it becomes too dry.

12. Always turn off your holiday lights when you are away from your home or other structure and when you are asleep.

For further information about this early reminder on electrical safety guidelines during the holiday season, turn to Light-On Electrical. Our company specialise in a vast array of quality electrical, air conditioning and electrical services for residential, commercial, strata and industrial properties.

Smoke detectors are mandatory for all residential and commercial buildings across Australia. While certain local authorities may make additional stipulations, all detector installations must comply with Australian Standards. When you fail to adhere to these standards, your buildings will not be safe for use, regardless of their purpose.

A Brief Explanation of the Requirements for Smoke Detectors in Residential Structures

Smoke detectors need to be installed near or on the ceiling of every storey of a residential building. Location of their installations must be ideal for not only alerting awake occupants, but also those who are sleeping. The National Construction Code or NCC classifies residential structures in the following manner:

• Class 1a includes row houses, detached homes, townhouses, villa units and terrace houses

• Class 1b includes guest houses, certain boarding houses and hostels

• Class 2 is for the sole-occupancy units, such as blocks of flats and apartments.

• Class 3 includes residential sections of motels and hotels, backpacker lodging establishments, residential areas of educational facilities and accommodations for children, the disabled or the elderly.

• Class 4 covers the dwellings attached to shops and other non-residential buildings.

The smoke detectors need to comply with the Australian Standard AS 3786. Most of the models sold today should, but it is up to you to be certain of this fact. Also, they need to be hardwired into the electrical mains of the residential buildings along with containing a battery backup for when the power fails if the structures have been built since August 1, 1997. Residential buildings built prior to this day need to comply with the earlier Australian Standard of AS 3786 – 1993. This regulation states that the smoke detectors need to be in the correct locations with battery backups but hardwired versions are not mandatory.

Information about the Regulations for Smoke Detectors in Commercial Buildings

Regulations for smoke detectors in commercial structures are a bit more complicated to explain. However, these detectors need to be part of the essential safety measures set forth by the Victorian Building Act of 1993 along with the 2006 Building Regulations. If the commercial building was built prior to July 1, 1994, the owners need to adhere to the specification in Regulations 1212-1217. However, if the commercial building was constructed after July 1, 1994, the owners need to follow the Regulations 1201-1211. Each set of regulations dictates the specifics clearly.

To ensure that your residential or commercial building adheres to Australian Standards, contact Light-On Electrical. We will guide you in your choice of smoke detectors as well as install them in the correct locations.