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Don’t take risks - keep safe this Christmas

THE headline generates an automatic response – keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds, keep your office (or home) well ventilated. While all of this absolutely necessary in the current Covid environment, what is almost equally as important this Christmas, with children at home and busy, and an unprecedented range of spectacular lighting dominating the landscape and streetscapes, is the issue of fire safety in the home.
With just few days left before Christmas, ESB Networks is reminding people not to take risks with electricity in the run-up to Christmas day. One of the first pieces of advice, in the form of a warning, from the company is to never use their poles to hang outdoor Christmas lights as the electricity wires overhead are live and extremely dangerous.
“You must always keep a safe distance because electricity is very powerful and can jump gaps,” it said in a statement.
It’s also reminding people to ensure their electrical equipment around the home is in good condition. The warning is timely, of course, just after Barra has left its impact.
“At this time of year, storms and strong winds can cause damage to electricity wires and poles, bringing wires to the ground; always be alert and keep your distance.”

ESB Networks also provides the following essential safety tips:
• Only use electrical equipment, including Christmas lights, that are in good condition.
• Check for frayed wires, loose connections, damaged or cracked plugs, or any signs of discolouration – if there is any sign of these, disconnect immediately and replace. It is always safer to disconnect remotely at the distribution board.

• Reduce the chances of causing a fire and keep decorations and combustible materials well away from light fittings and other sources of heat such as heaters, fireplaces and candles. Remember: electrical equipment can get hot and cause a fire.
• Switch off all electrical appliances, including Christmas lights and phone chargers, last thing at night and also, when leaving the home.
• Always unwind extension leads completely to avoid overheating and do not overload sockets with adaptors or extension blocks.
• Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they are working.
• Check that the residual-current device works by pushing the test button.
• Always consult a registered electrical contractor, for more information visit safeelectric.ie

Safety tips for outdoors:
• Always watch out for electricity wires and cables. Ask yourself the question: Are you sure it is safe?
• Electricity wires are always live; never approach them.
• If you see fallen wires, stay away from them and phone ESB Networks immediately on 1800 372 999/021 238 2410 (24 hours/7 days).
• Always look up and keep a safe distance from wires and poles.
• Never attach anything to ESB Networks poles or wires.
• Do not work near overhead wires.
We wish all our readers and advertisers a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas.