If you haven't already, it'll soon be the time to experience the joy / madness of putting up your Christmas decorations.
Whilst this is undoubtedly a time for joy and happiness, we are also bombarded with scare stories of the "hidden dangers" of Christmas in the media. As with most things in life, an element of common sense removes such dangers - but we are all guilty of the odd "brain freeze" moment.
So here are Dobson and Surrey's tips for negotiating the task of lighting up our homes and places of work...
1. Inspect and test all of your lights before putting them up!
Check the wiring for damage, the plug top to ensure the connections are tight and make sure there are no broken lamps. Try them before you put them up in the final positions - the last thing you want to do is have to remove all the tree decorations and re-do the lights.
With most lights these days being of the LED variety, this brings significant reductions in electrical efficiency but also in reducing the risks of house fires caused by lights. Certainly consider replacing older style lights with these newer ones.
2. Think about where you are going to plug the lights in!
If you have sufficient socket outlets to satisfy every need, you've done well (and are also in a massive minority). Most of us will need to use extension leads to provide power to our lights but please consider what is being connected.
If you are using socket outlets behind your TV, think about what else needs to be connected. Count up your equipment - it'll surprise you how many items you have plugged in at once.
If you are looking at an extension lead plugged into an extension lead, then it might be best to reconsider where you are plugging everything into!
Also, don't forget to carry out the same inspection on the extension leads for damage.
3. Make sure all external lights are connected to an RCD protected socket or circuit. Water and electrics tend not to make good bedfellows...
4. Be careful when putting lights up!
Again, common sense. It's usually cold / wet / snowing / icy when we put outside Christmas lights up. If it is, think about putting it off until it's not a hazard.
Too many times have we seen people putting lights up in conditions which whilst they aren't electrically unsafe, certainly make the task of putting them up dangerous.
Finally, when you've finished it all and your home looks beautiful, you can relax. Unless, of course, they go off...and then you have the joy of taking them all down again in a few weeks time!
From everyone at Dobson and Surrey, have a joyous (and safe) Christmas time.