Thu | Jun 8, 2023

Check house wiring before putting up lights for Christmas

Published:Thursday | December 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM
A home in Montego Bay, St James, shows off Christmas lights in 2008. - File

Homeowners are being advised to get a licensed electrician to check their house wiring before putting up decorative lights in order to prevent fires.

The warning came from assistant superintendent in charge of communication at the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Emilio Ebanks, as he addressed a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank.

Ebanks said house wiring that is over five years old should be checked before the decorative lights are plugged into the household circuit. He said that the increased electricity demand, coupled with unsafe wiring, increases the risk of fires, the destruction of property and the loss of life.


"Because there is going to be an added electrical load, what you want to do is get a certified electrician make sure that your property is safe and that it can manage whatever load you are now putting on to the system," he stated.

Ebanks said often persons will use "the little man from down the road" to do electrical installation, but he was urging householders to seek the services of someone who has been properly trained and certified to carry out the safety test.

"Bear in mind that you are connected to a grid and this grid will have more electricity being fed in, so you want to make sure that your system can manage the surge from both sides," he pointed out.

Ebanks also urged householders to check lights that have been placed in storage before using them.

"Most persons do not check these lights. You need to check that the wires are not chafed in any way because where the negative and the positive meets, you have an increased risk of a fire occurring," he pointed out.

He further cautioned against the stacking of lights on Christmas trees. "Don't plug more than three of these lights into one another. Anything over that, you're overloading your circuit. When you overload your circuit, you're calling for problems, and these electrical problems can start a fire," he said.

All lights, he said, must be unplugged before householders retire to bed.