Homeowners are being advised to get a licenced 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.
He said that house wiring that is over five years old needs to 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 and have him make sure that your property is safe and that it can manage whatever load you are now putting on to the system,” he stated.
Assistant Superintendent Ebanks said often, persons will use “the little man from down the road” to do electrical installation, but he is 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.
Assistant Superintendent Ebanks is also urging 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 meet 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 pointed out.
All lights, he said, must be unplugged before the householders retire to bed.