Have a Merry, Not Fiery Christmas, Australia!

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 26, 2012 4:56 PM EST

A number of business retailers have cautioned Australians to double check their Christmas lights for defective wires and unusual sparks.

This as Jody McGann, state manager of electrical industry group Master Electricians Australia (MEA), on Monday issued a strong advisory to homeowners to check the federal government's product safety recalls website following the recent string of Christmas lights recalls by Woolworths, Big W and Masters Home Improvement.

"There is a high risk of electric shock or fire should a defect in these recalled lights occur," Ms McGann said in a statement.

"Even reputable retailers have been forced to recall dangerous Christmas lights."

Woolworths has given out a withdraw notice for the Christmas Collection Indoor/Outdoor Christmas Lights it was selling, a 6 metre connectable LED rope light, after it received reports from varied costumers that some wirings were exposed.

Masters Home Improvement, meantime, recalled the Merry Christmas white LED Flashing Comet rope light and Merry Christmas white LED Flashing Star rope light, also due to exposed wiring.

It was the same reason for Big W, which recalled a total of 16 varieties of Christmas LED rope lights alone this month.

To aide Australians into this season of merriment, Master Electricians has published a Christmas lights safety checklist on its website, "to help prevent this festive season from being marred by an unfortunate electrical accident," McGann said.

Homeowners must ensure that the item or equipment brought meets national safety standards. Many decorative lights are manufactured outside of Australia where safety standards are lower, but an Australian Approval number indicates the product is safe to use here.

Christmas lights meant for external use should have extra low voltage lights. Even though outdoor connections should be weatherproofed, turn off all outdoor lights during bad weather and ensure that lights and cords are kept clear of powerlines, swimming pools, driveways, walkways and out of reach of children.

"If you have any suspicions about the safety of Christmas lights you've used in previous years, dispose of them or have them checked by a qualified electrician."

Visit the Federal Government's product safety recalls website to check if your lights had been deemed unsafe - www.recalls.gov.au

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